When it comes to gender equality, NASA’s long history definitely has a few blemishes. Some incredibly influential women who made NASA what it is today waited a long time to get the recognition they deserved from the start, but things are quite a bit different today. NASA celebrates the accomplishments of the many highly qualified women who fill its ranks, and a couple of them are about to perform a truly history spacewalk.
NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will be conducting the first all-female spacewalk later this month. McClain is currently aboard the ISS, while Koch is scheduled to arrive later this month.
As CNN reports, Kristen Facciol will be providing radio support for the walk, and she was the one that first revealed that the all-female spacewalk was in the works.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN. “It is the second in a series of three planned spacewalks. Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk. And, of course, assignments and schedules could always change.”
Schierholz also noted that an all-female spacewalk wasn’t something the organization was specifically planning for, it just happened to work out this way.
During spacewalks, astronauts spend an extended period of time on the exterior of the International Space Station. While in space, the crew members perform any number of different tasks, from repairing or installing instruments to conducting scientific experiments. The upcoming spacewalk is expected to last around seven hours, but that can change depending on how things unfold once the astronauts are out in space.
The all-female makeup of the team conducting the spacewalk obviously won’t have any impact on the work being done, as all NASA astronauts are held to the exact same standards and are equally qualified to handle any scenario whether they’re men or women. It will, however, be a historic moment for women in science and especially in space.