NASA Announces First All-Female Spacewalk

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NASA Announces First All-Female Spacewalk

Maggee Chang, Staff Writer

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On March 5, NASA announced its first all-women’s spacewalk, scheduled to be on March 29. Anne McClain (right) and Christina Koch (left) will be the two astronauts to take the giant leap into space. The lead flight director and lead spacewalk flight controller will also be women as well– Mary Lawrence and Jackie Kagey, respectively. NASA and Canadian Space Agency aerospace engineer Kristen Facciol will be on console, providing support for the two women in space. All ground aid will be based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas– a Mission Control center named after Katherine Johnson, the mathematician who calculated the orbital trajectories for the first U.S. missions into space. This history-making announcement fits the occasion– March is Women’s History Month.

Before, spacewalks were mostly men’s jobs, with the help of female crew members. These missions require strenuous hours of repairing the space station, in and out of space. For the upcoming spacewalk, Expedition 59, the two astronauts intend to replace batteries on the International Space Station. Anne McClain, a formerly active army pilot, and Christian Koch, a flight engineer, were both from the NASA astronaut class in 2013. Half of the candidates were women, all from different professional backgrounds (scientists, engineers, and pilots.) The class was composed of 6,100 candidates, the second-largest the space agency ever received. Only eight were selected. According to NASA, 2017’s astronaut class was also 50% women, a total of twelve astronaut trainees.

Women’s achievements in space have always been monumental, encouraging a new perception of what astronauts look like. In 1963, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to fly in space. It would be twenty years later until Sally Ride became the first American woman to be in space. Mae C. Jemison was the first African-American female NASA astronaut to go into space in 1992.

Currently, Anne McClain is in space on behalf of Expedition 58, her first time in space. Expedition 59 will be Christian Koch’s first of two scheduled spacewalks.

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Maggee Chang, Staff Writer

Maggee Chang is a senior at NGHS, starting her second year at the Crimson Times. Writing has always been a hobby she has found limitless and convenient...

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