Israeli-Swedish Astronaut Embarks on All-Female NASA Space Walk

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 20, 2019

Meir, a marine biologist making her spacewalking debut, became the 228th person in the world to conduct a spacewalk and the 15th woman.

Trump incorrectly said their spacewalk was "the first time for a woman outside of the space station".

"We have the right people doing the right job at the right time", he said. The first woman was the Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who went outside the USSR's Salyut 7 space station in 1984. "They're conducting the first-ever female spacewalk".

NASA wanted to complete earlier the first all-women spacewalk, but unfortunately, the event got canceled for a minor flaw.

At the time the cancellation drew widespread criticism, including from former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton and global activism group March for Science.

"We have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today", Meir said. "And the nice thing about it for us is that we don't really think about it on a day-to-day basis".

In a call to reporters just a few minutes before, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasized the symbolic significance of the day."We want to make sure that space is available to all people, and this is another milestone in that evolution", he said.

Both Koch and Meir are Girl Scouts alum and the Girl Scouts celebrated them by sharing messages of support on Twitter. At their work station on the end of the Port 6 truss structure, Koch and Meir carefully removed the broken power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit, or BCDU. The station relies on solar power but is out of direct sunlight for much of its orbit and therefore needs batteries. But astronauts are something else, we could say that it requires some extra courage to do what they do. "In addition, no one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space". For example, an Italian astronaut, a few years ago, nearly drowned when his suit helmet began filling up with water. "Safety of the crew and execution of the mission come first".

"In the past, women haven't always been at the table", Koch said in an interview with NPR from the space station. "It's wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone is having a role, and that can lead in turn to an increased chance of success".

Meir, making her first spacewalk, carefully made her way using handles.

She and Koch have trained together for the past six years because they're members of the same astronaut class. Meir is set to spend more than six months on board the station.

"In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to fix a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December", NASA reported.

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