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Achieving women: NASA makes history with first ever all-female spacewalk from ISS

Readers Lounge By Mirror

NASA has made history today with the first all-female spacewalk, outside of the International Space Station.

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Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are part of NASA’s Expedition 61 Flight, and began their spacewalk at 12:38 BST today, around 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Together, the astronauts are working to replace a faulty power controller, known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU).

NASA explained: “The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems.

Astronauts Christina Koch (L) and Jessica Meir (R) (Image: NASA/AFP via Getty Images)
The hatch opens on the ISS (Image: NASA)

“The unit they are replacing failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s exterior structure.”

Ms Koch is crew member 1 (EV 1), and can be seen in the live-stream wearing a suit with red stripes as well as a helmet camera carrying the number 18.

Meanwhile, Ms Meir is crew member 2 (EV 2), and can be seen wearing a suit with no stripes, and will carry helmet camera number 11.

Jessica Meir and Christina Koch (Image: NASA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX)

During the spacewalk, the astronauts are being assisted by Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and NASA’s Andrew Morgan.

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This is the 221st spacewalk performed outside the International Space Station, but the first with an all-female crew.

While both Ms Koch has performed three previous spacewalks, this is the first time that she is being accompanied by a female astronaut.

However, this isn’t the first time that NASA has attempted an all-female spacewalk.

This is Jessica Meir's first spacewalk (Image: NASA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX)

Back in March, Ms Koch was scheduled to complete a spacewalk with astronaut Anne McClain, but the mission was cancelled due to a lack of suitable spacesuits.

Instead, the spacewalk went ahead with Ms Koch and her male colleague Nick Hague.

NASA said: “Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it."

Many people have taken to Twitter to express their excitement at the all-female spacewalk.

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In response to NASA's tweet about the historic moment, one user said: "This is beautiful, this is a great step forward in the healing of the wounds women from all generations have endured. Great Work NASA!"

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