Veteran female astronauts to become first all-women spacewalk team

Veteran female astronauts to become first all-women spacewalk team

That changes Friday with spacewalk No. 421.

Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to complete a spacewalk, in October 1984, and there have been 220 spacewalks at the International Space Station since December 1998.

As of Thursday, men dominated the spacewalking field, 213 to 14.

The spacewalk is scheduled to kick off tomorrow at 12.50pm BST (7.50am EDT).

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who were initially supposed to venture beyond the International Space Station on October 21, are now slated to make their historic excursion this Friday.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir, left, and Christina Koch will wear 300-pound spacesuits and tote equipment that - despite resembling Captain Kirk's phaser rifle - is actually tools they'll use to fix a failed power regulator on the station's exterior.

In a NASA TV video this month, the two discussed how they felt about having their accomplishments discussed in terms of gender, agreeing that it is important to mark the progress that female astronauts have made.

"The duo will exit the station's Quest airlock in their U.S. spacesuits to replace a power controller that failed over the weekend".

It seems that the all-female spacewalk, while notable, isn't an event that NASA was trying to consciously facilitate.

The space agency will broadcast the spacewalk online over YouTube.

NASA predicts the spacewalk will last around five-and-a-half hours from start to finish. It must be replaced before continuing a series of spacewalks to install new batteries.

"The device regulates the charge to batteries that collect and distribute power to the station".

"Photos will be much more spectacular once we pass through the hatch".

Mrs Koch arrived on the ISS in March and Ms Meir joined the space station crew on September 25 this year. Both Koch and Meir are current residents aboard the ISS, with the former set to achieve a new record for longest-ever single continuous stay in space for a woman when she returns to Earth in February 2020.

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