NASA astronauts to team up for first all-female spacewalk

Anne Mc Clain in uniform. Image NASA

Anne Mc Clain in uniform. Image NASA

Apart from her, Mary Lawrence will also serve as a vital part of the flight control group.

For the first time in history, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station, NASA confirmed to CNN.

When astronauts McClain and Koch step outside the ISS on March 29, it will be just shy of 35 years since the first woman walked in space - a milestone set by cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya on July 25, 1984.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch, two NASA astronauts with Expedition 59, will operate the spacewalk - the name for when an astronaut gets out of a vehicle while in space - on March 29. They'll be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, who will be on the console at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

'I just found out that I'll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK, ' Facciol wrote.

There have been 213 space walks at the ISS since 1998 for the purposes of maintenance, repairs, testing of new equipment or science experiments, according to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Astronaut Koch in uniform. Image NASA
Astronaut Koch in uniform. Image NASA

Fewer than 11% of the more than 500 people who have been to space have been female, and spacewalk teams have either been all-male or male-female. This is going to be the first time in space for McClain and the first spaceflight for Koch.

McClain is on the ISS, currently, and her Twitter posts with a stuffed toy Earth have garnered tens of thousands of retweets.

'As now scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women, ' NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN. 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. Koch is scheduled to launch for the station March 14 aboard a Roscosmos Soyuz spacecraft along with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Both astronauts were part of NASA's 2013 astronaut class and these expeditions to space are their first.

It will be the second of 3 walks scheduled for Expedition 59's mission.

"It definitely resonates with women around the agency that we're at this point", Nasa's Stephanie Schierholz said.

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