NASA plans to conduct its first all-female spacewalk later in March during Women’s History Month.
The International Space Station spacewalk, part of Expedition 59, is scheduled for March 29, and will include astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, as well as Jackie Kagey as the lead EVA, or spacewalk, flight controller, NASA told HuffPost on Wednesday. The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA’s website.
“The March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said, hedging that “assignments and schedules could always change.”
“It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Hambleton added.
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.
Facciol tweeted her excitement last week, writing, “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!!!!”
Spacewalks are somewhat rare and are usually done for reasons that include exterior work on a spacecraft or satellite, or testing new equipment.
McClain is currently on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 58. Koch is set to leave Earth on March 14 to join Expeditions 59 and 60. McClain, Koch and Kagey are all from the 2013 astronaut class, which NASA told HuffPost was 50-percent women.
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