The first-ever all-female spacewalk is no longer the only one. As of Wednesday, Jan. 15 the same two women have done it again – and it won’t be the last time!
Their mission: to replace batteries aboard the International Space Station. The station’s solar arrays store the power they collect in large nickel-hydrogen batteries, each about the size of a refrigerator. These batteries were outdated, but because they’re kept outside the station, it required an extensive spacewalk to replace them with more powerful lithium-ion batteries.
In total, the astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, were spacewalking for seven hours and 29 minutes. That’s a while, but certainly it’s not the worst place to spend so much time. "It was truly amazing for Christina and me to be back out here today," said Meir during the spacewalk, in a live broadcast. "We have been talking about it a lot and it was really something we were looking forward to."
During the course of their mission they successfully removed three batteries, stowed them for later disposal, and installed adapter plates to allow the new batteries to work with the station’s existing power system.
That brought the mission to a close, but not the history of spacewalks crewed by women. The third will take place this Monday, Jan. 20.
Interested in more space stories like this? Catch a show this weekend in LSC’s Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium in America. A portion of our “Wonders of the Night Sky” show is always set aside for LSC Space News Now stories.