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NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works outside of the ISS during a spacewalk in 2015. Photo: NASA via Getty Images

The first-ever all-female spacewalk is scheduled to take place on March 29 and will feature astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, NASA confirmed Tuesday. The two astronauts are going to be supported on the ground by flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol serving as part of the flight control team, who will be located at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The big picture: The first American woman in space was Sally Ride, who flew with the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. However, spacewalks are relatively rare events, primarily occurring to make mechanical repairs to the International Space Station. The odds have therefore favored male dominated or male-female spacewalks, based on the composition of most ISS flight crews.

Details: According to NASA, all three NASA astronauts who will be aboard the ISS at the end of the month are from the 2013 astronaut class, which was 50% women, as was the most recent class of flight directors.

  • A NASA spokesperson who confirmed the historical significance of the planned spacewalk said it was "not orchestrated to be this way."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.