With Women's History Month firmly underway, two astronauts are adding a new chapter: the first all-woman spacewalk.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch towards the International Space Station (ISS) on March 14 as part of what's known as Expedition 59. It will be her first spaceflight. Once Koch reaches the ISS, she'll meet with fellow NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who has been onboard since December. McClain, who is , is also on her first voyage into space.
The two will have lots of work to keep them busy. During the time Expedition 59 will spend on the ISS, its crew will perform approximately 250 and technology demonstrations "not possible on Earth to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences," according to a NASA . The two women will be supported on Earth by flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol serving on the flight control team.
"As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women," NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz . "It is the second in a series of three planned spacewalks. Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk. And, of course, assignments and schedules could always change."
"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall," Schierholz says. The two will be outside of the ISS, in the void of space, for . The precise nature of the spacewalk has not been revealed yet.
Both McClain and Koch were part of the , which consisted of four men and four women. Known as because of their eight members, the group has been trained beyond the ISS for an eventual trip to Mars.