First all-fe­male space­walk is back on, says Nasa

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Trends - Mariel Padilla

The first space­walk to be con­ducted en­tirely by women is sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 21, Nasa an­nounced, nearly seven months af­ter an all-fe­male space­walk was can­celed be­cause two prop­erly fit­ted space­suits were not read­ily avail­able.

Christina Koch and Anne McClain, the two astro­nauts who were sched­uled to con­duct the space­walk in

March, both needed a medium-size torso com­po­nent, but only one was avail­able.

The space­walk did take place — it just wasn’t all-fe­male. Koch con­ducted the six-hour mis­sion with fel­low as­tro­naut Nick Hague.

McClain, whose do­mes­tic dis­pute sparked what is be­lieved to be the first crim­i­nal case in space, re­turned to Earth in June af­ter or­bit­ing the planet more than 3,000 times in 204 days.

Sum­mer Wor­den, McClain’s spouse, ac­cused the as­tro­naut of iden­tity theft and im­proper ac­cess to her pri­vate fi­nan­cial records from space.

Koch will now set out with as­tro­naut Jes­sica Meir this month on the first women-only ven­ture out­side of the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. They are set to in­stall lithium-ion bat­ter­ies to bet­ter serve the sta­tion’s power sup­ply.

It will be the fourth of 10 space­walks sched­uled for the next three months, which might set a record pace of com­plex space­walks since the space sta­tion was com­pleted in 2011, Nasa said. “I think it’s im­por­tant be­cause A Nasa im­age shows astro­nauts

Christina Koch (right) and Jes­sica Meir on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. The first all-fe­male was can­celled seven months ago over a flap over space­suits

of the his­tor­i­cal na­ture of what we’re do­ing and in the past, women haven’t al­ways been at the ta­ble,” Koch said. Koch, who ar­rived on the space sta­tion in March, is on her way to set a record for the long­est sin­gle space­flight by a woman.

AP

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