NASA’s first all-female spacewalk to be held later this week

All Female Spacewalk

NASA Moves Up 1st All-Female Spacewalk to This Week

This first all-female spacewalk was originally set to take place on October 21, but NASA moved the date up so Koch and Meir can replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) that failed to work as expected after an October 11 spacewalk to install new batteries.

Spacewalks last several hours and are frequently needed to perform maintenance on the complex, the first part of which was launched into space by Russian Federation in 1998.

Space station managers have postponed three spacewalks previously scheduled for this and next week to install new batteries in order to first replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU). On Oct. 21, Meir and astronaut Christina Koch are scheduled to go on the first all-female spacewalk.

Aroostook County native Jessica Meir will venture outside the International Space Station on Wednesday when she will take her first spacewalk.

This will be Koch's fourth spacewalk and Meir's first.

Friday's spacewalk is set to begin at 7:50 a.m. EDT and last about five-and-a-half hours, according to NASA.

NASA said the unit failure did not pose risks to any of the station's operations, crew, laboratory experiments, or overall power supply. However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

"This probably is the most unsafe thing we do, putting our people in a spacesuit and sending them outside the station", Kenny Todd, manager of International Space Station Operations Integration, told reporters. It's just normal, we're just part of the team, and we're doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else.

The original all-female spacewalk would have featured Koch and Anne McClain, who is now back on Earth.

Meir is scheduled for two other spacewalks this month, on October 21 and October 25.

The new suits come as a much-needed upgrade to NASA's astronaut wardrobe. That trip to space - and going on a spacewalk in particular - has been a goal of hers since she started talking about becoming an astronaut at age 5. Those spacewalks will happen at a later time. When she was 5 years old, Meir drew a picture of herself as an astronaut and in her high school yearbook, she wrote that she wanted to go for a spacewalk.

The upcoming spacewalk will be "absolutely an exciting event", said Megan McArthur, deputy chief of NASA's astronaut corps.

Meir joined Koch-who holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman-at the satellite in late September, and will spend over six months on the ISS.

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