On October 18, NASA conducted the world’s first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. The two participating astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, made history as they changed a crucial battery outside the Station. Read on to discover more about his incredible mission…
The First All-Female Spacewalk
Earlier this month, on October 18, a landmark took place outside of the International Space Station. Two NASA astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, conducted the world’s first all-female spacewalk. Even though it was Koch’s fourth spacewalk, it was Meir’s first – and a historical moment at that, making it the first all-female spacewalk. Their mission lasted 17 minutes and was titled by the astronaut and the station as a success. However, as you might imagine, the real story happened once news agencies received news of the historic walk.
The pair felt incredibly proud of their work and said it was an honor taking part in an all-female spacewalk. They also expressed hopes that it would one day become a regular occurrence. President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and President Trump’s daughter Ivanka called the astronauts during the mission to congratulate them.
A Crucial, Faulty Battery
While a 17-mission to change a battery might not seem like a big deal to us, that’s because we know nothing about space travel. This wasn’t like changing the battery in a car. The two astronauts’ spacewalk could have turned life-threatening, quick. Even worse, not completing the mission would have left them in even more danger. You see, flight controllers found out that a critical battery controller had malfunctioned and failed, making the new lithium-ion battery go offline as well.
Koch and colleague Drew Morgan had gone out on two spacewalks in order to replace the faulty battery; however, it needed a third change – queue in Koch and Meir. They were on duty for the spacewalk, and once they got the call, they were ready. And, thankfully, the two astronauts replaced the battery without any problems.
“A Gift And An Opportunity”
The first woman to conduct a spacewalk was Svetlana Savitskaya, a Russian cosmonaut, in 1984. Later that same year, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan became the first female spacewalker for NASA. Overall, 12 NASA female astronauts have participated in 40 spacewalks.
When reporters asked Koch if she felt any pressure or fear during the walk, she replied: “If anything, it just added to the moment, it added to the amazing experience of being able to contribute to this program in that way.”
Koch even said she didn’t want to call it a burden, or a difficult task. She chose to look at the bright side of the mission: “I would call it […] something uplifting, something that allowed us to be our best, to bring our best to that day and to recognize that we have a gift and an opportunity to potentially inspire the future.”