NASA has prepared two of its astronauts for a visit to the international space station with an all-female crew.
People have been fighting for women empowerment for centuries and the world has finally started to see it happen. Women are getting jobs that were given only to men a few decades ago. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has taken a big step towards women's representation in science. For the first time in history, the space agency has scheduled for a visit to its international space station with a crew filled with women. The agency announced that two female astronauts have been chosen to conduct the spacewalk. The expedition will be carried out on March 29 by astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch. The spacewalk is a part of Expedition 59. The astronauts will be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, who will be on the console at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The news was first reported by CNN.
The announcement was first made by Kristen Facciol on her Twitter account. She posted a tweet that read, 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.
"As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women," NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN in an emailed statement Wednesday. "It is the second in a series of three planned spacewalks. Anne also will join Nick Hague for the March 22 spacewalk. And, of course, assignments and schedules could always change."
NASA confirms that it has scheduled the first all-female spacewalk https://t.co/mbz71wGGVC— TIME (@TIME) March 7, 2019
"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall," added Schierholz. "In addition to the two female spacewalkers, the Lead Flight Director is Mary Lawrence, and Jackie Kagey (also a woman), is the lead EVA (spacewalk) flight controller." According to the NASA website, the spacewalk is supposed to last around 7 hours. Both McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women. Both women came from the second largest number of applications NASA has ever seen (6100).
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
According to NASA, the most recent class of flight directors saw 50% of women in its ranks. This is a great step to include more women in science and gives hope to girls everywhere to pursue a career in science despite gender disparity and sexism. McClain is currently on the ISS as part of Expedition 58 while Koch is all set to fly out on the 14th of March to reach the station for Expedition 59 and 60 along with Cmdr. Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineer Nick Hague. Expedition 59 will be the first time that McClain will be traveling to space and the first spaceflight for Koch.
Yes buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful? pic.twitter.com/qY6KDbAIwb— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 4, 2019
According to NASA, there are various reasons why spacewalks are held. Conducting work outside the spacecraft, conducting science experiments, and testing new equipment are just some of the tasks. Spacewalks are also conducted to fix satellites and other spacecraft that are already in space, instead of bringing them all the way back to Earth to be fixed and later sent back. According to NASA, there have been 213 spacewalks at the ISS since 1998. Fewer than 11% of from more than 500 people who have been to space have been women. Spacewalk teams have always either been all-men or a mix of men and women.
The dawn of a new era in human spaceflight pic.twitter.com/BHsfg1zYLN— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 3, 2019
It has been nearly 60 years since the introduction of spaceflights. In around six decades, there have been only four expeditions that included two female members trained for spacewalks. “It definitely resonates with women around the agency that we’re at this point,” Nasa’s Stephanie Schierholz said in an interview with The Guardian. It is a great move made by the agency. According to NASA, the two astronauts will be working outside the spacecraft for approximately seven hours, however, this might change once they step into space and start their work.
NASA is not making a big deal about this because the administration does not believe that this is out of the ordinary. That's a good spirit to have since NASA is simply trying to normalize the presence of women in space travel. But for a lot of people, this expedition will be a historic moment in the history of science as a field and especially in space.
Earth’s 3rd day started with getting the blood (plasma?) pumping! First the treadmill, then weights - he even got some deadlifts in with me. It is important to exercise every day, not just for our muscles but also to protect our bones from losing density in microgravity. pic.twitter.com/gIsiKt4K8S— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 6, 2019
Towards the end of last year, NASA's InSight lander landed on Mars to travel to parts of the planet that we have never seen before. Earlier this week, the agency was informed that the rover had stopped digging. It has apparently landed in some trouble, like hitting a rock or gravel. The space agency confirmed that there was no significant progress was seen after March 2, 2019. The lander was sent to Mars to dig deeper than any other rover before it, in the hopes that it'll find some new information about the planet. The probe started on February 28th. Now that the digging has stopped, officials have decided to give the lander/rover some time and analyze the situation further, instead of trying to resolve it right away. The InSight lander is reportedly working as expected in all other aspects.