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Koch and MeirNASA
If all goes to plan, the first all-woman spacewalk will happen this week.
Originally set for October 21st, the date has been moved forward to take place either on either October 17 or October 18.
Based at the International Space Station (ISS), NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are due to head out of the station to install new batteries.
Due to the failure of the orbiting lab's power control this past weekend, NASA issued a statement on Tuesday explaining their decision to move the date forward.
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Why are the women heading out of the ISS?
An issue started in April this year that caused power glitches after a battery pack was swapped. This issue hasn't been resolved yet, as the glitches are a repeat occurrence.
The failed battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) will be brought back down to Earth aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule in a few months.
Engineers on the ground will then be able to inspect what the problem with the BCDU was. The BCDU that was faulty in April is already back on Earth. Once Koch and Meir safely replace the next faulty one, this unit will also be inspected and compared with the previous one.
It's an anticipated moment for space exploration. NASA officials, like the agency's administrator Jim Bridenstine, have been sharing the news on social media ahead of NASA's press conference, which happened on Tuesday.
— NASA (@NASA) October 15, 2019
There has never been an all-woman spacewalk
Women have spacewalked before, fifteen women in total have donned their spacesuits and headed out into space.
But, they've always done so alongside male astronauts.
This long-awaited all-female event was due to happen earlier this year in March. NASA astronauts Koch and Anne McClain were meant to spacewalk together. However, the event was canceled as properly fitted spacesuits could not be put together in time.
Since June, McClain has been back on Earth and has praised Koch and Meir, who will undertake the mission she could have been a part of.
Third spacewalk in a busy season of spacewalks this week. Date is unknown bc the task was unforeseen: replacing a unit that failed during power-ups of new batteries. Very good that we have 4 expert spacewalkers on board to shoulder this tough task. They are the A-team! https://t.co/pJKrOGbBbe— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) October 15, 2019
Live coverage of the upcoming spacewalk will be shown from 6:30 AM EDT directly from NASA's website and NASA Television.
Stay tuned to find out if the spacewalk will happen on Thursday or Friday this week. It's bound to make a mark in history.