The Female Frontier
Two of NASA’s astronauts are scheduled to make history this month.
On March 29, Anne McClain and Christina Koch will leave the relative safety of the International Space Station for a spacewalk to upgrade the craft’s batteries.
Though rare, a spacewalk alone isn’t history-making. What’s exciting is the fact that this spacewalk will be the first to feature only women astronauts — an inspiring sign that women are catching up with men in exploring the final frontier.
Spacewalk This Way
On Wednesday, NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz confirmed the all-female spacewalk with CNN.
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” she told the network.
In addition to McClain and Koch, Schierholz pointed out that two other women will play important roles behind the scenes for this spacewalk — Mary Lawrence and Jackie Kagey will serve as the spacewalk’s lead flight director and lead spacewalk flight controller, respectively.
A third woman, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, will support the spacewalk from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She’s the one who first broke the news of the all-female spacewalk with an exuberant tweet on March 1.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
As with anything space-related, there is always a chance the spacewalk might not go as planned, with Schierholz telling CNN that “assignments and schedules could always change.”
Still, right now, it’s looking like McClain and Koch will spacewalk their way into the history books on March 29.