Trump corrected by NASA astronauts on first all female space walk


Two NASA astronauts have made history by conducting the first spacewalk with an all-female crew.

Christina Koch and Jessica Meir switched their spacesuits to battery power and ventured outside the International Space Station at 10.38pm last night AEDT to replace a piece of hardware that connects the station’s solar panels to its batteries.

It was Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.

RELATED: Meet the astronauts on NASA’s first all-female spacewalk

The first woman to ever spacewalk was Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984, followed by NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan a few months later.

With the addition of Meir, there have now been 15 women spacewalkers, and 14 of them have been from NASA.

Last night’s spacewalk was the first time the entire crew of a spacewalk were women.

It’s a small distinction but an important one, though you can be forgiven for not knowing and take solace from the fact you’re not alone.

US President Donald Trump got on the phone to Meir as the pair approached their fifth hour outside the space craft to congratulate the pair.

“We’re thrilled to be speaking live with two brave American astronauts who are making history and joining us during their spacewalk,” President Trump said in the livestream of the call alongside Vice President Mike Pence, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, and his daughter Ivanka.

“This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station … the first-ever female spacewalk,” President Trump said.

In the process of creating history, Meir felt it necessary to set the record straight.

“First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us, this is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time,” Meir said.

She went on to play down the achievement, saying the pair were “just doing [their] jobs”.

“We were the crew that was tasked with this assignment. At the same time, we recognise that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit to all those who came before us. There have been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers, and astronauts, and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”

Meir almost missed out on etching her name in the history books.

Fellow NASA astronaut Anne McClain was meant to accompany Koch on an all-female spacewalk in March of this year, but the mission was adjusted because there weren’t enough spacesuits to fit both women.

RELATED: NASA genius’ wild ‘light speed engine’

President Trump told the pair to “have a good time” during the remaining few hours they’d spend outside the space station.

All up the spacewalk lasted 7 hours and 17 minutes, bringing Koch’s total spacewalk time to more than a full day, at 27 hours and 48 minutes.

She’s also set to make more history later this year by spending more consecutive time in space than any other female NASA astronaut.

Peggy Whitson holds the current record at 288 days.



Source link