NASA's Christina Koch during a spacewalk on Friday. Photo: NASA TV
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch stepped into the vacuum of space for a history-making spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Friday.
Why it matters: While American women have been flying in space since Sally Ride made her first trip to orbit in 1983, today's spacewalk marks the first all-female spacewalk in history.
Details: Koch and Meir were expected to go for their first spacewalk on Oct. 21, but a power issue on the station forced mission managers to plan Friday's walk first, delaying the Monday spacewalk and others in the series.
- The two astronauts will change out a battery charging unit that collects energy from the station's solar arrays, NASA said in a statement, adding that the unit's failure presents no harm to the orbiting outpost or its astronauts.
- This is Koch's fourth spacewalk and Meir's first, and it is expected to take 5 to 6 hours.
- The two women are self-proclaimed "best friends."
Between the lines: While women made up half of Meir and Koch's 2013 astronaut class, women comprise about 34% of NASA's workforce as a whole, and 23% of the agency's science and engineering employees, according to agency statistics.