History is scheduled to be made yet again. The first all-female spacewalk for the International Space Station (ISS) was originally scheduled to take place last March, but had to be scrapped when both astronauts needed medium-sized torso pieces for their spacesuits and only one was available on the ISS, as reported by The New York Times.
Now, however, another walk has been scheduled to take place in just a few weeks, on October 21. The walk itself will be part of a series scheduled to upgrade the power systems on the ISS, with this particular walk being number four in the ten that are scheduled to occur overall. The mission for the fourth excursion is to install new lithium-ion batteries into the station.
The first all-female walk may not be the only record NASA is going to be setting with these walks, either. On their Twitter, NASA posted that all ten are scheduled to take place over the next three months, a record-breaking pace that hasn’t been seen since the ISS was first constructed.
If all ten go off without a hitch, the ISS will have upgraded power systems and will also have a repaired alpha magnetic spectrometer, which helps analyze cosmic ray events, as detailed in The New York Times article.
Before calling it a night, set an alarm to watch tomorrow’s spacewalk!⏰ Starting at 6:30am ET, you can tune in to NASA TV to see @Astro_Christina and @AstroDrewMorgan kick off the first of a series of ten complex spacewalks. More: https://t.co/fze4eY3GVi pic.twitter.com/Li8ynrCgC6
— NASA (@NASA) October 6, 2019
While Christina was originally scheduled to be a part of the historic spacewalk, Jessica wasn’t. If the walk had been completed in March, it would have been Christina and fellow astronaut Anne McClain who made history. However, Anne came back to Earth last June after she was caught up in a criminal investigation, considered by some to be the first-ever “crime in space,” as detailed by The Inquisitr.
Even if Jessica and Christina aren’t able to go on their walk together, Christina is already on her way to breaking another record. She isn’t scheduled to return to Earth until February. Having been on the ISS since March, if she remains on the station for her planned time, she will set the record for the longest continuous spaceflight conducted by a woman, surpassing Peggy Whitson, who set the record back in April. Christina’s time in space is part of an effort by NASA to determine the long-term effects of space travel on a female body, hopefully opening up longer-term travel opportunities to the moon and Mars.
This spacewalk will be special for Christina and Jessica personally as well. The two women graduated in the same astronaut training class, which was also notable due to it being the first graduating class to have an equal number of female and male students. Of the active astronauts listed on NASA‘s website, 38 are male and 12 are female, a ratio that is sure to change as the years go on.