The first-ever all-female spacewalk is scheduled for March 29, featuring astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch.
They will be supported by women on the ground, including flight director Mary Lawrence and control team member Kristen Facciol.
I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019
NASA, meanwhile, seems less excited about this historic event.
“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN in an emailed statement—the only mention of the all-female excursion.
“It was not orchestrated to be this way,” she continued. “These spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall.”
So it’s just a coincidence that this momentous occasion transpire at the end of Women’s History Month.
McClain will also join Nick Hague for a March 22 outing.
Holy smokes, my twitter exploded with excitement over women doing awesome things in space and I LOVE that. But here’s hoping this will be the norm one day!
Also hi new friends! Let’s be unapologetically excited about space and life together! ♥️
— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 2, 2019
Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space in 1963. But it would be nearly two decades before another lady left Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA opened the space program to female applicants in 1978. Five years later, Sally Ride launched with the seventh Space Shuttle mission, becoming the US’s first woman in space.
She helped pave the way for femmes like Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe (who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion), as well as Kathryn Sullivan (the first American woman to walk in space) and a growing number of female explorers around the world.
But it’s ridiculous to think that, in the nearly 60-year history of sending humans to space, no two women have ever embarked on a spacewalk together—even coincidentally.
Better late than never, though.
Koch and McClain’s seven-hour spacewalk will be broadcast on NASA TV later this month.
The pair, along with Hague, were members of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, which consisted of 50 percent women.