Space station's 2 women prep for 1st all-female spacewalk

18 Octobre, 2019, 04:20 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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Two of NASA's veteran female astronauts will venture forth from the International Space Station on Friday and become history's first all-women spacewalk team. All four men aboard the International Space Station will remain inside, as Koch and Meir go out to replace a broken battery charger.

The Expedition 61 astronauts now aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are preparing for a record-breaking ten spacewalks to be conducted in three months.

"We do anticipate that will stick", NASA spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz told NPR in an email. The spacewalk will be broadcasted in its entirety from 6:30 AM EDT on NASA TV and on the agency's website.

They will be replacing a faulty battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after a spacewalk October 11.

NASA says the failed power unit "has no impact on the crew's safety or ongoing laboratory experiments".

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NASA emphasized that the faulty BCDU doesn't pose any danger to the station or the astronauts, but it's preventing the ISS from receiving an expected increase in power. It must be replaced before continuing a series of spacewalks to install new batteries. Originally, the first all-female spacewalk was slated for March 2019, but had to be postponed since they did not have enough medium-sized space suits on the ISS to fit both women.

As of Thursday, men dominated the spacewalking field, 213 to 14.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir, left, and Christina Koch will wear 300-pound spacesuits and tote equipment that - despite resembling Captain Kirk's phaser rifle - is actually tools they'll use to fix a failed power regulator on the station's exterior.

Space fans have been waiting for this spacewalk for a long time.

The original spacewalk would have been carried out by Mrs Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain. "We're doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else", she said. "It's really nice to see how far we've come".

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