On Wednesday, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir recreated their history by performing an all-female spacewalk. The pair headed outside the International Space Station to perform some more upgrades. It happened for the second time in the history that two women have suited up without any men and did a spacewalk together. If everything goes according to the plan, the pair could do it all again next week.
Repeating the Feat!
The purpose of Wednesday’s spacewalk wasn’t all that remarkable. Koch and Meir were given the work of swapping out batteries on the outside of the International space station, which has been carried out from multiple years. For decades, the space station has been based on nickel-hydrogen batteries for storing energy generated by the vehicle’s solar panels. However, since 2017, NASA has been periodically carrying out replacement of these old batteries with the latest lithium-ion batteries. These lithium batteries are lighter, can hold more of charge, and have the capability to last much longer than the orthodox batteries.
Wednesday’s spacewalk along with another scheduled for Monday, January 20th, Meir and Koch are on the way to this battery upgrade by swapping the remaining nickel-hydrogen batteries still in use on the outside of the station. Completion of the task will result in, up-gradation of all eight power channels on the ISS, with three lithium-ion batteries linked to each channel.
It was the fifth spacewalk for Koch and the second for Meir, who just shattered the record for the longest continuous stay in space by a woman. Back in March 2019, Koch was originally appointed to do the first all-female spacewalk with another woman: Anne McClain, crewmate of Koch at the time. At last, McClain chose to change out of the spacewalk, as there wasn’t an available spacesuit in her size. Nick Hague, a male colleague of Koch and NASA astronaut, had to take her place, which led to an outcry from those who were waiting for the history-making venture.
We could see multiple all-female spacewalks!
Then in October, NASA ultimately received its chance for a do-over. After launching a fresh crew and a fresh spacesuit to the ISS, everything synced up perfectly for Meir and Koch to execute a spacewalk together. It was a great moment, as up until that time every spacewalk in history had included at least one man in a spacesuit. However, in October, every man on board stayed inside the ISS.
Following next week, NASA will be able to brag that it has fostered three all-female spacewalks. Soon, NASA is going to accomplish a feat not so newsworthy. Once Meir and Koch are done with their job, the next spacewalk will be executed by Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and NASA astronaut Luca Parmitano, who will update an instrument on the outside of the ISS that helps in detecting cosmic rays. With many spacesuits of smaller size on the station, people could see even more all-female spacewalks in the months and years ahead.
Hello, I’m Anna Yeo. If you like my news coverage, please drop a good word in my inbox. I’m journalist by profession and have been part of many major reporting across the globe. I like to write crisp and factual news. I have completed my masters degree in journalism. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]