Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, tasked with replacing faulty device at International Space Station, embarked on historic effort
Two Nasa astronauts have embarked on the first all-female space walk in a historic first.
Christina Koch and Jessica Meir floated feet-first out of the International Space Stations (ISS) Quest airlock on Friday lunchtime UK time, tasked with replacing a failed power control unit.
The spacewalk, known as an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in astronaut jargon, took place seven months after the original planned date for an all-female outing, which had to be scrapped because the ISS had only one medium-sized spacesuit on board. The agency sent up a second medium spacesuit in October.
I think its important because of the historical nature of what were doing, Koch said ahead of the spacewalk. In the past, women havent always been at the table. Its wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role. That can lead in turn to increased chance for success.
Koch, who has been on the ISS since March, was first out the hatch, followed by Meir, carrying a tool bag. During the five-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, the astronauts remained attached to handrails on the exterior of the ISS using harnesses and pairs of metal carabiners. These are sequentially clipped and unclipped to ensure that the astronauts cannot float off into space.