NASA is set to perform the world’s first all-women spacewalk on March 29, an event that will serve as a dramatic conclusion to this year’s Women’s History Month. Thirty-five years after Soviet space pioneer Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk, NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) for an estimated 7 hours.
The spacewalk is a rare and potentially dangerous maneuver typically conducted to perform exterior work on spacecraft or satellites. While outside the ISS, the astronauts will work in conjunction with a number of women flight controllers back at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. Jackie Kagey will serve as the lead EVA (spacewalk) flight controller, while Mary Lawrence acts as lead flight director. Kristen Facciol from the Canadian Space Agency will also reportedly provide necessary ground support. In a statement posted to Twitter, Facciol said she was ecstatic to participate in the historic moment.
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!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
For McClain and Koch, the event will mark the first time either of them have participated in a spacewalk. McClain is currently performing her first extended stint in space as part of the Expedition 58 crew that arrived at the ISS in December. Koch is expected to join her at the station after serving as flight engineer for Expeditions 59 and 60 this month.
The dawn of a new era in human spaceflight pic.twitter.com/BHsfg1zYLN
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 3, 2019