The First All-Female Space Walk Is Finally Happening

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are making history

All-female spacewalk
Christina Koch is one of the astronauts leading the first all-female spacewalk.
Sergei SavostyanovTASS/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / October 18, 2019 12:11 pm

After a history-making all-female spacewalk was controversially delayed earlier this year, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are finally making the landmark space event a reality.

Koch and Meir stepped outside the International Space Station for the first all-female spacewalk Friday morning to replace a faulty power controller, Smithsonian.com reported. The astronauts were originally supposed to install new batteries outside the space station next week, but they were reassigned to replace the power controller as soon as possible after it failed last weekend. According to NASA officials, the failure is a recurring problem, so the battery charge/discharge unit will be sent back to Earth for further inspection.

The spacewalk began at 7:50AM ET and will last for five and a half hours. A livestream of the event is available on NASA TV.

The first all-female space walk was originally supposed to take place back in March, but was postponed due to a complication involving spacesuit availability. Koch was supposed to conduct the mission with fellow astronaut Anne McClain, but was replaced by Nick Hague due to a lack of appropriately sized spacesuits.

Koch later secured the suit in the right size and has been at the ISS since March 14. She is scheduled to return in February 2020, making her nearly year-long mission the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

Friday’s mission marks Koch’s fourth venture outside the ISS in her career, and the third this month, CBS News reported. Koch was the 14th woman to walk in space, and Meir has now become the 15th.

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