News: Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir created history when they stepped outside the International Space Station to do some repair work, it was the first all-women spacewalk ever.
What’s a spacewalk? When an astronaut steps out of a vehicle in space, it is known as a spacewalk; it’s less walking and more floating in space. During a spacewalk, astronauts can repair their spacecraft and equipment, test new equipment and even do science experiments! Did you know that to train for a spacewalk astronauts practice walking underwater in a large swimming pool or using virtual reality helmets!
Do they need to wear those BIG spacesuits? Most definitely! Spacesuits keep astronauts safe in space – they have oxygen in them for breathing and water for drinking. Plus it helps the astronaut stay connected to the spacecraft using safety tethers (like ropes) where one end is hooked onto the astronaut’s spacesuit and the other to the spacecraft. Without this, the astronaut could float away into space as there is no gravity!
In fact, astronauts also need to secure their tools to their spacesuit to stop them from floating away!
Why was this spacewalk special? There have been more than 200 spacewalks along the outside of the ISS. Most of the spacewalks have been conducted by male astronauts or a combination of male and female astronauts. But none of them had only female walkers — until now!
Wondering what work they had? The duo needed to replace a faulty battery charger that is crucial to the power supply onboard ISS. Their mission lasted for 7 hours and 17 minutes during which they even had a brief chat with President Donald Trump.
This video released by NASA shows the women at work.
Did you know?
This historic spacewalk was originally planned in March but had to be canceled as there was only one medium-sized suit available on the space station.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen again, NASA has designed new spacesuits that fit every human body. It has been made keeping in mind the 2024 Artemis mission when the first woman is supposed to walk on the moon.
Fun Fact: In 1984, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the first woman to walk in space.
Written by: Preetika Soni. Preetika is a full – time toddler mommy. In the time that is left, she enjoys writing, photography and crochet. She has worked with NDTV, Mumbai and has taught at SCMSophia.