NASA's first all-female spacewalk: historical significance
In her high school yearbook, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir
wrote: "go for a spacewalk" on the list of her plans for the future.
Now, she can check that box. Meir, alongside fellow astronaut
and friend Christina Koch, successfully conducted the first
all-female spacewalk outside of the space station on Friday.
According to NASA, the all-woman spacewalk was something they
had not planned but just happened. Reason? Increase in the number
of women astronauts. Koch's and Meir's 2013 class
of astronaut candidates was 50 per cent women. When asked in an
interview about the importance of conducting her mission and this spacewalk, NASA astronaut Christina Koch said,
"In the end, I do think it's important, and I think it's important because of the historical nature of
what we're doing. In the past women haven't always been at the table. It's wonderful to be
contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted when
everyone has a role and I think it's an important story to tell." While both women recognize how
important and historic their spacewalk was, they also hope it becomes commonplace and isn't
regarded as a big deal in the future. Ken Bowersox, acting associate administrator for Human
Exploration and Operations at NASA, stated in a teleconference on Friday, "There are some
physical reasons that make it harder sometimes for women to do spacewalks. And spacewalks
are one of those areas where just how your body is built in shape, it makes a difference in how
well you can work the suit." "But as different kinds of people have entered space, NASA has
adjusted its suits," Bowersox said. Bridenstine quickly added that the agency is "really focused
on making sure that the spacesuits are available for everybody." And he said that because
women appear to fare better in microgravity in some regards--their vision doesn't suffer as much
as men's — it makes "them better at spaceflight than men."
As Rep. Katherine Clark tweeted the spacewalk was certainly a small step for the women, but
one giant leap for womankind!!