The NASA astronauts exited the ISS today shortly after 12.40pm BST (7.40am Eastern). The two astronauts are tasked with replacing a failed part of the space station’s critical power systems. The spacewalk is the 221st to date but, more importantly, it is the first to feature an all-woman team of astronauts.
NASA said: “The first all-woman spacewalk is a milestone worth noting and celebrating as the agency looks forward to putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 with NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program.
“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.”
Today’s spacewalk marks the fourth time Mrs Koch has donned NASA’s iconic spacesuit to leave the ISS.
She has also become the 15th woman to spacewalk and the 14th US woman to do so.NASA spacewalk: Astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir (right) (Image: NASA)NASA spacewalk: Astronaut Christina Koch working on the International Space Station (Image: NASA)
Ms Meir, however, is performing her first spacewalk after arriving on the ISS on September 25.
Before the spacewalk, Mrs Koch talked about the significance of the mission.
The astronauts said: “In the end, I do think it’s important, and I think it’s important because of the historical nature of what we’re doing.
“In the past women haven’t always been at the table.
“It’s wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role.
“That can lead in turn to increased chance for success.
“There are a lot of people who derive motivation from inspiring stories of people who look like them, and I think it’s an important story to tell.”
The spacewalk is expected to last between five and six hours.
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During these intense hours, the two astronauts are tasked with replacing a battery charge/discharge united on the space station’s port truss.
, courtesy of NASA.
NASA has pencilled in five spacewalks in October to replace the ISS’ old batteries with new lithium-ion ones.
A failure of one of the system’s components has forced NASA to alter its original plans.
The space station’s batteries power the ISS when it passes through the nightside of Earth 16 times every 24 hours.
Fortunately, NASA said the failure has not affected the station’s overall power output or the safety of its crew.
NASA said: “The unit is one of several that regulate the charge put into the batteries collecting energy from the station’s solar arrays.
“Though the unit's failure has not affected station operations or crew safety, it does prevent the new batteries from providing increased station power.”