It’s (again) confirmed. NASA has just scheduled a very first spacewalk in space with an all-female crew, with astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir expected to conduct a maintenance operation on October 21st.
A first exit canceled
NASA astronauts Anne C. McClain and Christina H. Koch were to make history last March by forming the first all-female team to participate in a spacewalk from the ISS. Unfortunately, the mission had to be canceled because of a size problem in space suits. The part supposed to cover the torso of the astronaut McClain, who preferred an average size, was the big size. She was forced to leave her place to flight engineer Nick Hague.
Due to a number of factors, from safety to fit performance, it can happen once in orbit that astronauts’ size preferences change, says NASA.
This is indeed not uncommon. The bodies of the astronauts change into orbit and the feeling can be different once outside the station, compared to the conditions of ground training. When that happens, the field crews determine the course of action to respond to astronaut preferences and the space station’s schedule requirements, the agency says.
This time, NASA will make sure to ship the kit onboard the ISS. This new spacewalk with a fully female team has been confirmed for October 21st.
It will normally be a question of replacing old nickel-hydrogen cells in the structure of the space station. Other releases are also planned over the next few weeks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), an instrument that has been studying dark matter since 2011.
Note that these two astronauts are already onboard the station. Christina Koch is also expected to break the record for the most space flight time for women, with a projected total of 328 days over our heads. Jessica Meir is experimenting with her first space flight in expeditions 61 and 62.