Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

NASA's first all-female spacewalk could happen this month

In this image released Friday Oct. 4 2019 by NASA astronauts Christina Koch right and Jessica Meir pose on the International Space Station. The first all-female spacewalk is back on six months after a flap over spacesuits led to an embarrassing The 1st All-Female Spacewalk Is Back On, After Medium-Size Spacesuits Acquired
Sandy Nunez | 07 October, 2019, 14:13

NASA's first all-female spacewalk includes a MI native.

The two women now at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, are scheduled to take a spacewalk together on October 21.

NASA's new space mission just got more interesting as it could be the first spacewalk to be conducted entirely by women. All five will be done by Morgan and Parmitano because the work to fix the AMS requires special skills versus the more generic training that includes activities like battery replacements.

After removing the first old battery, Koch and Morgan took turns holding it as they made their way, inchworm style, to a storage platform where it needed to be placed. Koch said that the final assignments aren't set in stone, but that there are enough properly sized suits this time. The second medium was put together on board in June.

Koch, who has been aboard the space station for 205 days as of Saturday, was originally scheduled to participate in the first event of this kind back in March with fellow astronaut Anne C. McClain.

"Wow, it is attractive", said Morgan ahead of schedule in the spacewalk, responding to the sun ascending as he looked off the side of the station at Earth underneath.

"I'm sure that they'll sit back and reflect on it, as we all will".

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The couple were arrested in Tehran three months ago over unauthorized drone flying, and were held in the Evin prison since then. In a statement, the couple said: "We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love".

"The instrument wasn't created to be repaired in space, so unique tools had to be developed, unique procedures", McArthur said.

She and Meir have both trained in medium-sized suits for the last six years.

Astronaut Christina Koch is also set to break a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

"In the past, women haven't always been at the table", Koch said during a televised interview earlier this week. "It's really nice to see how far that we've come".

Expect more women spacewalking together on the horizon. The old batteries are 10 years old; the new ones are expected to last until the end of the space station's life, providing vital power on the night side of the Earth.

Meir shared an image of her hugging Koch after arriving on the station. There are 11 spacewalks coming up in the next few months - 10 U.S. and one Russian. NASA plans to develop initial xEMU models, including one that will be flown to the station for a 2023 test and the two that will be used on the Artemis 3 lunar landing mission in 2024.