First all-female spacewalk planned


For the first time in history, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station, NASA confirmed to CNN.

"I just found out that I'll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina", she wrote on Twitter.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Ann McClain will walk outside the International Space Station (ISS) as members of Expedition 59, on a mission to replace batteries installed last summer.

It's a routine outing, and the first of three planned for this particular series, but this one is special for reasons beyond the mission itself - it's the first ever all-female spacewalk.

A NASA spokeswoman told CNN Wednesday, "As now scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women". She's due to take part in another spacewalk on March 22, alongside astronaut Nick Hague.

McClain is now on the ISS as part of Expedition 58, while Koch is set to blast off on March 14 to reach the station for Expedition 59 and 60 along with Cmdr.

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Jackie Kagey will be the lead spacewalk flight controller, HuffPost reported, and she will be joined by lead flight director Mary Lawrence and engineer Kristen Facciol at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. "And, of course, assignments and schedules could always change".

McClain and Koch are both members of NASA's 2013 astronaut candidate class, which was 50% women.

The March 29 spacewalk is scheduled to last for seven hours, according to NASA's website.

"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall", a NASA spokesperson said. This will be a true reality and a big achievement in the history of NASA to have a complete unmanned team to undertake their project. NASA says spacewalks are conducted for repairs, testing equipment and conducting experiments.

After the news became public, McClain posted a view of Earth from space to her Twitter page with the caption, "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight".

A spacewalk, also known as "extravehicular activity" (EVA), is a broad term that applies to any time an astronaut exits a vehicle while in space.