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2 Female Astronauts Just Made History

Christina Koch, Jessica Meir are first to make women-only spacewalk to fix the ISS power grid
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2019 12:12 PM CDT
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This photo provided by NASA shows astronaut Andrew Morgan with Christina Koch and Jessica Meir at the International Space Station on Friday.   (NASA via AP)
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(Newser) – For the past 50 years, the guys have gone out into space to carry out all needed repairs. On Friday, that all changed, thanks to Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. The two NASA astronauts became the world's first all-female team to do a spacewalk when they were sent out to make fixes to the International Space Station's power grid, the AP reports. It was the first spacewalk ever for Meir (she's only the 15th woman ever to make a spacewalk), and Koch's fourth (she's No. 14, as she did her first spacewalk on a co-ed team earlier this year). The women, former Girl Scouts who are also close friends back on Earth, were originally supposed to carry out the dangerous task next week, to put in new batteries, but their mission got moved up a few days when a new problem that needed addressing cropped up over the weekend.

A women's-only team had originally been slated to head out into space back in March, but that mission, which was to involve Koch and astronaut Anne McClain, was called off because there was only one medium-sized suit, which both women needed. On Friday, Meir and Koch both wore medium-sized suits, per the New York Times, with Space.com noting Koch's bore special significance: Hers included a portable life support system with the number "1008" on it, which is the same number that appeared on the backpack of Kathryn Sullivan, the first woman ever to do a spacewalk, on Oct. 11, 1984. Of Meir and Koch's feat, Sullivan joked with the AP earlier this week, "Golly gee whiz, every now and then there's more than one woman in the same place." Three-time spacewalker Tracy Caldwell Dyson adds: "Hopefully, this will now be considered normal." (Read more female astronauts stories.)

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