US astronauts become first all-female pair to perform spacewalk

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They began their mission with standard safety checks on their suits and tethers.



By AFP

Published: Sun 20 Oct 2019, 12:12 AM

US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk on Friday, a historic milestone as Nasa prepares to send the first woman to the Moon.
The mission was originally planned for earlier this year but had to be aborted due to a lack of properly fitting spacesuits, leading to allegations of sexism. "Christina, you may egress the airlock," spacecraft communicator Stephanie Wilson told the pair as they set out to replace a power controller on the International Space Station at 1138 GMT.
They began their mission with standard safety checks on their suits and tethers, before making their way to the repair site on the station's port side, as the sunlit Earth came into view.
In a call to reporters a few minutes earlier, Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasised the symbolic significance of the day.
"We want to make sure that space is available to all people, and this is another milestone in that evolution," he said.
"I have an 11-year-old daughter, I want her to see herself as having all the same opportunities that I found myself as having when I was growing up."
Koch, an electrical engineer who is leading the mission, is carrying out her fourth spacewalk. - AFP


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