NASA has scheduled the first all-female spacewalk for later this month, the US space agency said Tuesday.
NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will conduct the historic spacewalk on March 29 from the International Space Station (ISS), NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton told dpa.
Women have walked in space multiple times before, but the March 29 extra-vehicular activity, or EVA, as spacewalks are known in NASA parlance, will be the first by a pair of female astronauts.
McClain and Koch will be assisted on the ground by a third woman, Kristen Facciol, who tweeted on March 1 that she will be “on console” at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
NASA will hold a news conference about a week ahead of the spacewalk to describe what the astronauts will do, Hambleton said, adding that the assignment of McClain and Koch could change.
McClain is currently among two astronauts and one cosmonaut on the ISS. That number will double after March 14, the scheduled launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Koch, fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.
Before her spacewalk with Koch, McClain is scheduled to conduct a spacewalk with Hague on March 22 from the ISS.
It will be spacewalk number 214 from the ISS, which is orbiting 408 kilometres above Earth.
The first woman to conduct a space walk was Svetlana Savitskaya on on July 25, 1984. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson holds the record for most spacewalks by a woman: 10.