March is officially upon us, which means it’s Women’s History Month. So it seems only fitting that NASA is preparing for its first-ever all-female spacewalk. According to HuffPost, on March 29th, astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will embark on a spacewalk from the International Space Station (ISS). The history-making walk is part of Expedition 59 and will last for about seven hours. CNN reports that the two astronauts will have assistance from an all-female flight crew, too. The Lead Flight Director will be Mary Lawrence, and the lead spacewalk flight controller will be Jackie Kagey. Flight controller Kristen Facciol of the Canadian Space Agency will be assisting the team from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN via email that the spacewalk “will be the first with only women.” She added that it was part of a series of three planned walks and acknowledged that “of course, assignments and schedules could always change.”
CNN notes that McClain is currently in space for the first time. For Koch, who will leave for the ISS on March 14th, the experience marks her first spaceflight. According to Glamour, both women were members of the 2013 astronaut class, which had an equal division of men and women for the first time ever.
The NASA website notes that there have been 213 spacewalks at the ISS between December 1998 and 2018—so the upcoming all-female walk is a long time coming. We think it’s safe to say this is “one giant leap” for womankind.