NASA carries out first all-female spacewalk

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – NASA carried out the first-ever all-female spacewalk Friday as two astronauts ventured outside the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger.

Christina Koch and Jessica Meir began the spacewalk at 7.50 a.m. EDT (1250GMT) to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU), according to NASA.

It is the first time all space walkers are women and the 43rd spacewalk to include women, said the space agency.

Koch wore a suit with red stripes, and Meir a suit with no stripes to distinguish between them.

"This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first," said the agency. "Meir will be the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman,"

It said the spacewalk is the 221st in support of station assembly, maintenance and upgrades, and the eighth outside the station this year.

"The crew is safe as science and maintenance operations continue normally on the orbiting lab," said the agency.

Earlier in the month, in an interview with National Public Radio from the space station, Korch said women were not "always" at the table in the past.

"It’s wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone is having a role and that can lead in turn to an increased chance of success," she said.

In March, NASA scrapped the all-female spacewalk because it failed to provide enough spacesuits of the right size for the two astronauts, Korch and Anne McClain, on the station.