NASA Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch completed the first all-female spacewalk on Friday.

NASA Astronauts Christina Koch, Jessica Meir Complete First All-Female Spacewalk

(CNN) — NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch conducted the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. The spacewalk officially began Friday at 7:38 a.m. EDT and lasted for seven hours and 17 minutes, ending at 2:55 p.m. EDT.

The spacewalk went well, according to both astronauts, and they were even able to accomplish some get-ahead tasks on the station.

This was the fourth spacewalk for Koch and the first for Meir. Based on their position on the platform, the astronauts were able to see the Earth pass beneath their feet.

The first woman to conduct a spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984, followed closely by NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan. Koch and Meir were the 13th and 14th women to conduct a spacewalk.

“It’s really interesting for us,” Meir said. “This is just us doing our job. We’ve been training for six years, so it’s coming up here and doing our job. At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we want to give credit to the women who came before us. We have followed in their footsteps to get where are today.”

“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 at a recent news conference. “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 an increased chance for success.”

During Friday’s spacewalk, Koch and Meir replaced a faulty battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after a spacewalk on Oct. 11.

The space station is powered by solar arrays and four sets of batteries. The unit regulates the charge in the batteries from the solar arrays as the station orbits at night around the Earth.

A Second Attempt at History

Friday marked the second attempt at an all-female spacewalk after the first was scrapped in March.

NASA cited spacesuit availability as the reason for scrapping the walk.

When asked about spacesuit availability this time around, Koch said there are currently two medium spacesuits on board. After the first all-female plan was shifted, Koch configured the second spacesuit herself using what was available on the ISS.

She and Meir have trained in medium-sized suits for the past six years.

Koch arrived at the International Space Station in March. She is set to remain at the ISS until February, which will make her time there the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

Meir arrived at the space station for her first mission at the beginning of October.

(Photo provided by NASA.)


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