The First All-Female Spacewalk


(Image via EarthSky)

Joselyn Gonzalez, Writer

  For about half a century, women have completed spacewalks before, but every time they have been accompanied by men. Earlier this year, on March 29, an all-female spacewalk was going to take place. This would have been the first all-female spacewalk in history. Women in NASA have always been accompanied by men during their missions, but that was going to change in 2019. Due to a shortage of medium-sized space units, the spacewalk was canceled until further notice. Many thought that this problem was foolish, but it’s harder than it seems to have a highly designed and utilized suit in hand. This news was devastating for people to hear and it rose many questions about when this spacewalk would proceed. Luckily, NASA has finally announced that on Friday, October 18, they will proceed with their spacewalk. They had previously said it was going to take place on Monday, October 21st but they later changed their minds.

    Astronauts Jessica Meir, 42, and Christina Koch, 40, are scheduled to fix a broken battery charger in their spacewalk. The power controlled failed over the weekend and it needs to be replaced. This is very similar to what had happened earlier this year in April. As of Friday, October 18th, it marks Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Mier’s first spacewalk. Mier was a marine biologist who arrived in orbit last month. On the other hand, Christina was an electrical engineer and entered with the class of 2013. Mier will be the 15th woman to be part of a spacewalk. The first woman to be part of one was Russian cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya, in July 1984.

   Mission control took place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Huston. Koch and Mier took roughly 7 hours, and the station was back to full power once they had installed the BCDU. Many people including the president and the speaker of the house congratulated the ladies for making history. The spacewalk started at 7:38 am EDT and ended at 1:55 pm EDT. There were no issues throughout it and both the astronauts accomplished their mission. 

   Besides Koch and Mier, another important woman took place in this mission. Astronaut, Stephanie Wilson, was helping both astronauts through the spaceships speakers. Stephanie was taking place as Capsule Communication AKA CapCon. A CapCon is a person who stays on Earth while they communicate with the crew members in space. Wilson stayed in touch through their entire mission. To add on, Wilson is the second African American astronaut to go into space in history. She has her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Harvard in 1988 and her masters of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1992. She served as an astronaut office mission support crew branch chief. Later on, in the astronaut selection board in 2009, 2013, and 2017

   Thanks to these amazing and brave women, October 18 will be a day to remember. A day where women made history. Everyone who was involved worked together to fix a problem and succeeded in their mission.