U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are all set for a historic all-female spacewalk on Friday.
NASA announced that the two women astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station beginning at about 7:50 a.m. (11:50 GMT) to replace a power controller that failed during the weekend. The spacewalk will be the first ever to be conducted by two women.
In a tweet, Jessica Meir said, ”Gearing up for Friday’s spacewalk to help the ground teams repair one of the battery channels with @Astro_Christina.”
Though astronauts and cosmonauts have done more than 200 spacewalks during the construction and maintenance of the International Space Station, only 15 women have ever been on a spacewalk, but always accompanied by men.
The space walk was originally scheduled to take place sic months ago, but it had to be postponed due to non-availability of correctly sized suits. In between, NASA sent another medium spacesuit to the station so that the walk could happen.
Koch, who is also set to complete the longest single spaceflight by a woman as she remains in orbit until February 2020, said gender milestones like the spacewalk were especially significant.
“There are a lot of people who derive motivation from inspiring stories from people who look like them, and I think that it’s an important aspect of the story to tell,” she told a NASA briefing in Houston this month.
“What we’re doing now shows all the work in the decades prior from all the women that worked to get us where we are today,” Meir added.
Koch, who was slated for the earlier spacewalk, will be making her fourth walk. Friday will mark Meir’s first spacewalk.