NASA has announced that the first all-female spacewalk in history will take place later this month, 35 years after a woman first took part in one.
Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain will walk outside the International Space Station on March 29, on a mission to replace batteries installed last summer.
They will receive ground support from flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol of the Canadian Space Agency in NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas.
"I cannot contain my excitement!" exclaimed Facciol in a tweet on Friday.
Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to do a spacewalk on 25 July 1984.
There have been 213 space walks outside the ISS since 1998 for the purposes of maintenance, repairs, testing of new equipment or science experiments, according to NASA.
Fewer than 11% of the more than 500 people who have been to space have been female, and spacewalk teams have either been all-male or male-female.
In the nearly 60 years of human spaceflight, there have only been four times when expeditions included two female members trained for space walks.
McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50% women.
McClain is already on board the ISS. Her recent Twitter posts with a stuffed toy Earth, which arrived with the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule last weekend, have garnered tens of thousands of retweets.
Earth’s 3rd day started with getting the blood (plasma?) pumping! First the treadmill, then weights - he even got some deadlifts in with me. It is important to exercise every day, not just for our muscles but also to protect our bones from losing density in microgravity. pic.twitter.com/gIsiKt4K8S — Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 6, 2019
Koch is due to lift off on 14 March for her first space flight. NASA estimates their walk will last about seven hours.
"It definitely resonates with women around the agency that we're at this point," said NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz.
She added that, while having the first women-only spacewalk was exciting, the more common sentiment around NASA was that it is more important that it not be the only one.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke