Oct 15, 2019

Historic, all-female spacewalk to take place this week

NASA astronaut Christina Koch working on the outside of the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

A history-making spacewalk featuring NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir is now expected to take place Thursday or Friday on the International Space Station, a few days earlier than initially expected, NASA announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: When Koch and Meir venture out for their walk in space, it will mark the first all-female spacewalk ever performed.

Details: The two women were originally expected to go for their first spacewalk next week to help upgrade batteries on the outside of the station.

  • Due to a failed power unit on the station, Meir and Koch will need to work outside to fix that problem first, postponing the walk and others focused on battery replacements.
  • In spite of the failed power unit, the station and its crew are safe, NASA said in a statement.

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Astronauts step outside for first all-female spacewalk in history

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.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019

Why an all-female spacewalk took so long

NASA astronaut Christina Koch takes a selfie during a spacewalk. Photo: NASA

As NASA aims to make spaceflight more inclusive and equitable, outdated ideas about women and their fitness for certain aspects of spaceflight still persist.

Driving the news: During a press briefing ahead of the historic all-female spacewalk on Friday, NASA's acting associate administrator for human exploration Ken Bowersox suggested that it took this long for two women to go on a spacewalk together in part because women's bodies aren't as fit for spacewalking as men's.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019

The future of spacewalks is more robots and less humans

NASA astronaut Robert Curbeam on a spacewalk in 2006. Photo: NASA

For decades, space agencies have relied on astronauts to take precarious and time-consuming spacewalks, but today, space station operators are increasingly turning to robots to perform tasks in orbit.

Why it matters: Using robots instead of astronauts for routine spacewalks would make spaceflight safer and more efficient, experts say, freeing up humans to only take walks in space during an emergency or for delicate experiments in microgravity.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019