Oct 4, 2019

NASA's 1st all-female spacewalk planned for this month

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch on the ISS. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are expected to make history as the first all-female team to perform a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station.

The big picture: The spacewalk, currently scheduled for October 21, will be focused on changing out batteries that power some of the station's solar arrays.

Yes, but: Spacewalks are notorious for their complexity, so it's still possible that Koch and Meir's walk could change or be cancelled if something unexpected happens between now and October 21.

Details: The spacewalk is 1 of 5 planned to swap out batteries, with 5 others planned for later in the year to repair an astrophysics instrument on the outside of the station.

  • The first spacewalk in the series is scheduled for Sunday. Koch and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan are expected to start the walk at 7:50 a.m. ET.

Background: The spacewalk comes after NASA canceled an all-female spacewalk in March due to spacesuit availability.

  • That particular issue shouldn't be a problem this time, however, with two spacesuits configured for use by the women.

Go deeper

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

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.

Read moreArrowOct 15, 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