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The first all-female spacewalk happens today

Ashley Strickland, CNN

10/18/2019

CNN) — Early Friday, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will conduct the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. The spacewalk will begin at 7:50 a.m. ET and last for about five or six hours. 

In order to tell the astronauts apart, Koch's helmet camera views will bear the number 18 and Meir's will be number 11. Koch's spacesuit also has red stripes on it.

This will be the fourth spacewalk for Koch and the first for Meir.

The first woman to conduct a spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984, followed closely by NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan. An additional 12 US women have conducted 40 spacewalks over the past 35 years. Koch and Meir will be 13th and 14th, respectively. 

 

Koch and Meir spoke about women working in human spaceflight during a recent news conference.

"I think it's important because of the historical nature of what we're doing and that in the past, women haven't always been at the table," Koch said. "It's wonderful to be contributing to human spaceflight at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success.

"There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stories from people that look like them and I think it's an important aspect of the story to tell," Koch said.

"What we're doing now shows all the work that went in for the decades prior, all of the women that worked to get us where we are today," Meir added. "I think the nice thing for us is we don't even really think about it on a daily basis, it's just normal. We're part of the team, we're doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else, so it's really nice to see how far that we've come."

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    Gender Equity/Diversity

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