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2019-10-18 19:25:55

In middle school, I begged to go to Space Camp. In that week, I served as both the commander of a mission and participated in a all-female spacewalk simulation with another girl, among other amazing activities. I couldn't have imagined then that it would take until 2019 for two women to do that same thing in actual outer space.

But at last, it's all happening. As I write this, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are taking part in the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station, where the duo will be replacing a faulty battery charge/discharge unit. (Women have done spacewalks before, but never together.)

You may remember back in March, NASA had to cancel this scheduled event for the most inane reason: The organization didn't have two spacesuits that were sized to fit women and one of the women, Anne McClain, had to give up her spot to a man. Anne trained in ‘M’ and ‘L’ and thought she could use a large but decided after [last] Friday’s spacewalk a medium fits better,” a NASA spokeswoman, Stephanie Schierholz, said in a tweet at the time. “In this case, it’s easier (and faster!) to change space-walkers than reconfigure the spacesuit.”

We are not over that, but at least now we can also celebrate these incredible women.

And since each is a person in her own right, NASA has even provided a handy way to identify who is who in the livestream.

I think it's important because of the historical nature of what we're doing and that in the past, women haven't always been at the table, Koch said in a news conference ahead of the historic day. It's wonderful to be contributing to human spaceflight at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success.


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