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08 March 2019, 05:10 | Edward Lowe
2 astronauts are scheduled for the first all-female spacewalk in history
NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will be making the historic Expedition 59 on the International Space Station (ISS) later this month on March 29th. NASA celebrates the accomplishments of the many highly qualified women who fill its ranks, and a couple of them are about to perform a truly history spacewalk. The upcoming spacewalk is expected to last around seven hours, but that can change depending on how things unfold once the astronauts are out in space.
According to CNN, Nasa says spacewalks are essential for conducting work outside a spacecraft, testing new equipment and fixing satellites and spacecrafts that are already in space.
"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall", NASA spokesperson Kathryn Hambleton said.
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NASA selected its first female astronauts in 1978, and women now account for about 34% of its astronauts. She was followed almost 20 years later by the second woman in space, Svetlana Savitskaya, who also did a spacewalk two years later. McClain has been at the International Space Station since December 2018. She pointed to the first African-American administrator, Charles Bolden, who said in 2016, "Being the first African American Administrator is all well and good, but I want to make sure I'm not the last". She's due to take part in another spacewalk on March 22, alongside astronaut Nick Hague.
The on-the-ground flight control team at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will include lead flight director Mary Lawrence and NASA engineer Kristen Facciol.
McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50 percent women.
US astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, a member of the International Space Station expedition, attends her final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Center in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, Feb. 20, 2019.
NASA Flight Controller Kristen Facciol sparked global excitement at the beginning of this month when she tweeted her elation at being assigned to assist the spacewalk from the ground.
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