If all goes according to plan, the first-ever spacewalk with an all-female crew is scheduled for March 29, US space agency NASA has told CNN.
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN in an emailed statement Wednesday.
Anne McClain and Christina Koch, the two female NASA astronauts, will walk outside the International Space Station (ISS) and complete the upgrades to two station power channels during the spacewalk, NASA announced in a statement released on the International Women’s Day on Friday.
They will be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency’s female flight controller Kristen Facciol at Johnson Space Center in Houston, according to the CNN report.
“In addition to the two female spacewalkers, the Lead Flight Director is Mary Lawrence, and Jackie Kagey (also a woman), is the lead EVA (extravehicular activity) flight controller,” Schierholz added.
McClain and Koch were both selected as astronauts by NASA in 2013. McClain has been at the ISS since December 2018, while Koch is due to lift off on March 14.
The all-female spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the NASA website.
The historic mission adds to the significance of women’s role in space science.
In 1984, Soviet Union’s cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk. She conducted EVA outside the Salyut 7 space station along with her colleague Vladimir Dzhanibekov.