Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are "suiting up" for a historical event (Credit: NASA)
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are “suiting up” for a historical event (Credit: NASA)

The world is finally going to have its first all-female spacewalk.

Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christian Koch are scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station on Thursday or Friday morning to replace a faulty battery discharge unit, according to a press release from NASA.

While upgrades to the space system’s power station aren’t unusual, the pairing of two female astronauts certainly is. Since the first spacewalk in 1965, there have only been all-male or male-female pairings — not two women.

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“In the past, women haven’t always been at the table, and it’s wonderful to be contributing to the Human Space Flight Program at a time when all contributions are being accepted,” Koch said in an interview with NASA. “There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stories from people that look like them and I think that’s an important aspect of the story to tell.”

Koch will be taking her fourth spacewalk and  Meir will be taking her first spacewalk in the historical event. Koch was the 14th women do a spacewalk this year and Meir will be the 15th.

Koch will also spend the longest time in space of any woman. She will have been in space for 328 days, says CBS. When she lands, she will be just 12 days shy of Scott Kelly’s record.

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The Story Exchange regularly covers powerful women who make history, from Annie Easley, whose work paved the way for hybrid fuel cars, to Muriel Siebert, who was the first woman to be elected to the New York Stock Exchange. If you need an inspirational boost, read our list of “8 Women Who Changed the World.

Editor’s Note: The Story Exchange is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching the annual Women In Science Incentive Prize. Apply now for a chance to receive $5,000 in funding for your climate-related research or startup. Deadline: July 31. 

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