American astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir had a historic EVA on Friday, first made entirely by a female team.
“Christina, you can leave the depressurization chamber”said astronaut Stephanie Wilson of flight control in Houston, according to images broadcast live on the channel of the US space agency.
After routine safety checks of suits and ties, A walk outside the International Space Station (ISS) officially began at 11:38 GMT.
Koch and Meir worked on replacing the battery charging and discharging unit (BCDU) that stopped working last weekend. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electrical energy for the ISS, but During its orbit, the station spends most of its time without directly receiving light, and it is during these periods that it uses the energy stored in the batteries.
The maneuver this Friday was announced by NASA on Monday and is part of Currently, there is a process of replacing old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion devices, which have a large capacity.
Koch, an electrical engineer who reached her fourth EVA with her, which is also known as extra-literary activity, He led Meir, Ph.D. in marine biology, who made his first experience outside the station.
The first joint walk of two female astronauts, which included Koch and Ann McClain, This was planned for March, but NASA had to cancel it four days earlier because they did not have two suits of the right size.
“We want to make sure that space is accessible to all people, and this is another milestone in this evolution ” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstein said in a conversation with the press a few minutes before Koch and Meir began their historic mission.
“I have an 11-year-old daughter, I want her to see in herself the same opportunities that I had when I was growing up,” he added.
NASA, traditionally dominated by men, received from several critical fronts after a failed women's mission in March, which for these voices was evidence of sexism hidden in the culture of the US space agency.
On Friday, President Donald Trump contacted the astronauts via a video call and told them that they had made history., “You are very brave and bright women”Trump said Koch and Meir. “They represent this country very well.”added the president. "We are very proud of you."
Ken Bowersox, NASA's acting deputy administrator, said for his part that he hopes that women-only spacewalks will soon become a “routine” issue and will not require celebration.
When asked why it took so long to organize a completely feminine extralegular activity, Bowersox said tall men are an advantage: "Very tall men are those who were able to do work because they could achieve and make things easier."
“But we also include women in teams because of their mental abilities,” he added. “They bring different skills, they think differently.”
In 1983 Sally Ryde became the first American woman to go into spaceas a member of the seventh space shuttle flight. Today, the number of women-cosmonauts of American origin exceeds the number of any other country.
But whoever keeps a record of what was the first woman in space is Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, from the Soviet Union, in 1963, followed by fellow countryman Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982, which in two years will be the first woman to go into outer space.
The United States is currently developing a mission called ArtemisApollo's twin sister in Greek mythology, with whom she intends to return to the moon after more than 50 years of her first manned satellite mission in 1969.
Artemis will include women in her astronaut teamsand possibly also include a mission of only women.
The planned date for the first of these new moon landings, which some experts consider unlikely, is 2024.
Artemis should also function as the first stage of a future expedition that will take people to Mars in the 2030s.