Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, drifted outside the International Space Station on Friday for historic first all-female spacewalk. The first two-woman extravehicular activity comes 54 years after a Russian cosmonaut took the first stroll in space to demonstrate it could be achieved.

Floating in the Quest airlock, Koch makes her fourth spacewalk, and Meir, makes her first. They rearranged their spacesuits to battery power at 7:38 a.m. EDT to formally kick off a prepared five-and-a-half-hour visit. It’s the 221st spacewalk since the International Space Station was established in 1998.

Koch, an electrical engineer, and Meir, who has a doctorate in marine biology, finally stepped outside in their Nasa spacesuits at 11:38 GMT (07:38 EDT).

For association, Koch, EV-1, is using a spacesuit with red bands and wearing helmet camera No.18. Meir, EV-2, is using an unmarked suit and wearing helmet camera No. 11.

Koch, an electrical engineer, and Meir, who has a doctorate in marine biology, finally stepped outside in their Nasa spacesuits at 11:38 GMT (07:38 EDT). They made their way to a location called the Port 6 truss structure to replace the a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU), BBC reported.

Read Also: NASA unveils spacesuit to be worn by the first woman on the moon

Highlights:

  • Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are the first women to be a part of an all-female spacewalk.
  • It comes after more than three decades when the first female walked in space with a male partner.
  • The walk is to replace the faulty batteries and complete routine activities.
  • People from all over the world are streaming live to watch the historic moment.
Christina Koch and Jessica Meir float out of the Quest airlock to kick off a planned 5.5-hour spacewalk. Credits: NASA TV

Despite the unprecedented level of inspection, Friday’s spacewalk was a business operation to repair a damaged 232-pound battery charger in the laboratory’s solar power operation. Any two of the space station’s four NASA astronauts could have completed the task as they all had undergone the same training. But Koch and Meir were assigned.

Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space in 1984, said in an email correspondence with CBS News that it’s a sign of the gradually increasing number of women in the astronaut organisations.  She further stated that the occasional woman who adds novelty to a crew is now paving paths to the normality of more gender-diverse teams in all these fields. Women are now frequently taking on high-stakes responsibilities and leadership positions.

Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov conducted history’s first spacewalk in 1965. Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first female to walk in space during an excursion with a male cosmonaut in 1984. It happened later that year by Sullivan, who accompanied astronaut David Leestma for a shuttle spacewalk.

Read Also: Female Scientist To Lead Advanced Cancer Research Project In Space

The mission of this spacewalk

The flight program commands Koch and Meir to remove one of three extra BCDUs from its perch on an outer storage platform, thoughtfully move it to the left edge of the truss more than 50 yards from the station’s airlock, replace the defective unit from a solar array equipment bay and fit the replacement.

This is expected to restore energy to the lab’s electrical system that failed when the initial charger broke after 19 years of normal operation, hitting a newly-installed lithium-ion battery offline.

Despite the unprecedented level of inspection, Friday’s spacewalk was a business operation to repair a damaged 232-pound battery charger in the laboratory’s solar power operation.

If time is available, they also intend to do a few more regular duties like setting the multi-layer insulation around spare parts to make passage easier and routing an ethernet cable and placing a fitting on the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory module that will be required when an experiment platform is connected later.

Because batteries decrease their capacity to recharge over time, NASA is in the way of substituting all 48 of the space station’s older model nickel-hydrogen cells with 24 more robust lithium-ion power packs, along with circuit-completing “adapter plates” to fill in for batteries that were separated but not substituted.

People from all over the world are tuning in to witness this historic moment. This event celebrates women achievement in space exploration!

Image: Twitter

Read Also: Astronaut Jessica Meir’s Dream Just Came True, Will Do Spacewalk Soon

Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.