NASA will reportedly make history when it conducts the first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station later this month.
Anne McClain and Christina Koch, two NASA astronauts with Expedition 59, will operate the spacewalk — the name for when an astronaut gets out of a vehicle while in space — on March 29. It is expected to last 7 hours.
Jackie Kagey will be the lead spacewalk flight controller, HuffPost reported, and she will be joined by lead flight director Mary Lawrence and engineer Kristen Facciol at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
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Facciol tweeted about the historic event on Friday.
“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,” she posted.
Spacewalks, also called extravehicular activity (EVA), usually last between five and eight hours and are conducted so that astronauts can make repairs on equipment or carry out experiments.
NASA didn’t originally intend to make the March 29 spacewalk historic, a spokesperson told HuffPost.
“It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” NASA spokesperson Kathryn Hambleton said.
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McClain launched to the International Space Station in December for Expedition 58 and will continue on Expedition 59’s crew.
Koch will launch on March 14 to be on the crew of Expeditions 59 and 60. Both astronauts were part of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class and these expeditions to space are their first.
There have been 213 spacewalks since 1998.
Valentina Tereshkova, from the Soviet Union, was the first woman in space in 1963. The first American woman in space was astronomer Sally Ride on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.