NASA Astronaut Christina Koch Celebrates One Year Anniversary Of First All-Woman Spacewalk

NASA Astronaut Christina Koch 289 days, one year anniversary First woman spacewalk

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and her colleague Jessica Meir celebrated the first anniversary of the first all-woman spacewalk on Sunday (Oct 18). A year ago, Koch and Meir took part in the historical spacewalk conducted entirely by women from the International Space Station.

The event marked the first walk in space by only women in more than a half-century of spacewalking. Till Oct 18, 2019, only male or mixed teams had conducted spacewalk since the space station was assembled in 1998.

“It was such a momentous moment … and I think the year has really made me realize that,” Koch told Space.com. “It’s really been interesting how 2020 has become this year that has symbolized inclusion in so many ways.” 

“We kind of almost were kicking it off in some ways, unknowingly,” Koch talked about breaking the glass ceiling in a male-dominated field.

Guinness record

With this accomplishment, on Monday, the Guinness Book of World Records officially recognised Koch and Meir for their historic spacewalk. Koch was widely praised for her mission, and also for the record of the longest single spaceflight by a woman till date.

“Not only is aerospace and technical industry [an area] that has often had under-representation by women, but spacewalking, in particular, is a really stark example of that,” Koch said on returning to Earth after spending 329 days in space. “I think there have been about 15 women that have ever done a spacewalk, and there are over 200 men that have done a spacewalk.” She also surpassed the record held by Peggy Whitson, who had spent 288 days aboard the ISS in 2016-17.

Koch’s was the second-longest single spaceflight by any US astronaut, according to NASA

This event made “sure that NASA was really committed to, like I like to say, answering humanity’s call to explore by everyone. And so it was just a wonderful thing to have the honor to participate in. And I think that we’re just so appreciative still to receive the support that we still receive every day about it,” she said.

First All-Female Spacewalks

The spacewalk lasted for seven hours and 17 minutes. Speaking to CNN, Koch said “Do what scares you. Everyone should think about what intrigues them and what draws them in.”

The first woman to perform a spacewalk was the Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, that was 35-years ago. Of the more than 500 people who have been into space, only 11% have been women, Reuters had reported.

“Those things can kind of be scary a little bit, but they usually mean that you’re interested. And if it’s just outside what you think is attainable for you and you reach it, it really pays off dividends in more ways than one. It can be rewarding for you personally, and it usually means that you’re giving something back to the world in the maximum way possible,” she had added.

Feature Image Credit: NASA

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