The first all-female spacewalk is happening right now
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch have made history today by conducting the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station in order to make a repair to its solar power network, CNN reports.
The spacewalk officially began at 7:38 am, when the batteries in their spacesuits activated and they exited the airlock. It is set to last approximately 5-6 hours.
According to NASA, the pair have been tasked with replacing a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) that was unable to activate earlier this month when new lithium-ion batteries were installed on the station's exterior.
While the faulty battery has not seen a significant impact, it needs to be repaired nonetheless.
Koch, who will also be completing the longest single spaceflight by a woman as she remains in orbit until February 2020, said female astronauts being able to achieve such milestones was incredibly important.
"There are a lot of people who derive motivation from inspiring stories from people who look like them, and I think that it's an important aspect of the story to tell," she told a NASA briefing in Houston this month. "What we're doing now shows all the work in the decades prior from all the women that worked to get us where we are today," Meir added.
Kathy Sullivan the first American female spacewalker, who carried out her own mission more than 30 years go said she was very happy to hear about today's milestone.
ANASA spokesperson said: "Our achievements provide inspiration to students around the world, proving that hard work can lead you to great heights, and all students should be able to see themselves in those achievements."
An all-female spacewalk was actually supposed to be conducted back in March. Unfortunately, the mission, which would have involved Koch and fellow NASA astronaut Anne McClain was cancelled as there were not enough spacesuits in the correct size.