Published: Fri, March 08, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

NASA astronauts to team up for first all-female spacewalk

NASA astronauts to team up for first all-female spacewalk

Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk.

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.

NASA Flight Controller Kristen Facciol sparked worldwide excitement at the beginning of this month when she tweeted her elation at being assigned to assist the spacewalk from the ground.

There have been 213 spacewalks at the ISS since 1998 for the purposes of maintenance, repairs, testing of new equipment or science experiments, according to Nasa.

Less than 11 percent 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. Schedules and assignments for EVA missions can change, but it will be a spacewalk for the history books if all goes as planned.

They will be supported by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, who will be serving as console at Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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A NASA spokeswoman told CNN Wednesday, "As now scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women". McClain, a graduate of West Point, is an OH-58 helicopter pilot and graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. Astronauts also conduct spacewalks to fix satellites or spacecraft that are already in space, instead of having them brought back to Earth to fix.

Though women make up a growing number of NASA astronauts, women continue to be underrepresented in the space travel field.

The following year, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya walked in space for another historic first, on July 25, 1984.

Both were members of NASA's 2013 class of astronauts, where four of the eight members were female, and traveled to the ISS over the past year as part of expedition 58 and 59, respectively.

Facciol was filled with emotion when finding out she would be a part of the historic event from the ground.

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