NASA Just Announced Its First Ever All-Female Spacewalk
This week the place company revealed that the first ever all-female spacewalk will take place at the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of this month.
For anyone wondering what exactly a spacewalk consists of, it's making the journey out of the spacecraft, which will take place on 29th March.
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Congratulations to astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Anne McClain who will be conducting NASA's first all-female spacewalk during this women's history month! The International Space Station U.S. Spacewalk is scheduled for Friday, March 29 at 6:30 a.m. ET. :camera_with_flash:: @NASA . . . . . . #womeninstem #womenshistorymonth #womeninscience #nasa #space #science #iss #astronauts #photooftheday #annemcclain #christinakoch
Fifty-five years after the first female Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was launched into space, gender diversity has travelled at a snail's pace in the male dominated industry.
In fact, there has been 213 spacewalks at the ISS since 1998, and none of them have been led by women - with teams either being all male or only containing a small minority of women.
While it's arguably long overdue, this all women team will finally have the opportunity to take centre stage.
The team is headed by Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain as they make the journey to replace batteries installed last year. They will be supported on the ground by flight team Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol. The full walk is set to take around seven hours.
I just found out that I'll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace- Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
Koch and McClain both graduated from the 2013 class at NASA which consisted of half women and half men. This begs the question of why there has been such an absence of female spacewalks when there's no lack of women at NASA, and why has it taken so long to get them both out to space together?
While the announcement it a huge step forward in the battle for gender equality, it's worth noting that women still only make up 11 per cent of people in space. In the last 60 years of space flight, there has been four times in which missions included two female members who were trained for spacewalks.
Here's to another step forward in gender equality and happy International Women's Day.
Featured Image Credit: NASA