The astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are scheduled to conduct the first all-female spacewalk on March 29 if it goes according to the plan. These astounding women are Anne McClain and Christina Koch. They will set out on a space venture together for about 400 km above the Earth and make history.
According to the significance of their mission, the spacewalk will take place during Women’s History Month.
“It was not orchestrated to be this way,” said NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz. “These spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall — they are to upgrade batteries on the space station.”
This spacewalk of McClain and Koch’s will be the second of three planned excursions for Expedition 59. This spacewalk is supposed to be launched next week on the very Pi Day at 3:14 pm ET (8:14 pm UTC).
One NASA flight controller expressed her excitement about working on the mission.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
Before this historic spacewalk, McClain is also slated to perform a spacewalk with astronaut Nick Hague on March 22.
“Of course, assignments and schedules could always change,” Schierholz said.
NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, half of which was made up of women, had McClain and Koch as its members.
“Wanted to be an astronaut from the time I was 3 or 4 years old,” said McClain in a 2015 NASA video interview. She also has a position of major in the US Army and has served as a pilot too.
“I remember telling my mom at that time, and I never deviated from what I wanted to be. Something about exploration has fascinated me from a young age.”, she added.
McClain is currently aboard the ISS, where she is accompanied by an adorable Earth plush toy.
Yes buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful? pic.twitter.com/qY6KDbAIwb
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 4, 2019
Koch, on the other hand, is an electrical engineer and she is supposed to join McClain on March 14 and have her first ever space flight, according to NASA. Space is just the latest exciting frontier Koch has conquered: her work and passion have taken her on expeditions to the South Pole and the Arctic.
She was asked in a February interview about the importance of conducting her mission during Women’s History Month. On this, she said, “It is a unique opportunity, and I hope that I’m able to inspire folks that might be watching.”
Noting she did not have many engineers to look up to growing up in Jacksonville, North Carolina., she added, “I hope that I can be an example to people that might not have someone to look at as a mentor … that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what examples there might be around you, you can actually achieve whatever you’re passionate about.”
“If that’s a role that I can serve,” she said, “it would be my honor to do that.”