Friday, October 18, 2019

The First All Woman Spacewalking Team | NASA




The First All Woman Spacewalking Team | NASA
History Makers Jessica and Christina Suit Up

Oct. 18, 2019: The International Space Station Expedition 61 crew pauses for a photo as NASA Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch prepare to exit the International Space Station to begin the first all female spacewalk in history on Oct. 18, 2019.

The astronauts replaced a faulty battery charge discharge unit (BCDU) that failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium ion batteries on the space station's exterior structure. The BCDUs regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the station's solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the station orbits during nighttime passes around Earth. Though the BCDU failure has not impacted station operations or crew safety, it does prevent the new batteries from providing increased station power.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Parmitano operated the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support.

It was the first spacewalk for Meir and the fourth for Koch, who now has spent a total of 27 hours and 48 minutes spacewalking. It is the first spaceflight for both women, who were selected in the 2013 astronaut class that had equal numbers of women and men. Koch arrived to the orbiting laboratory in March 2019 and will remain in space for an extended duration mission of 11 months to provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman to prepare for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It was the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman. Women have been performing spacewalks since 1984, when Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya spacewalked in July and NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan spacewalked in October.

It was the eighth spacewalk outside the station this year. Space station crew members have now conducted 221 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have spent a total of 57 days, 20 hours, and 29 minutes working outside the station.

Credit: NASA/JSC
Image Date: October 18, 2019


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