On Friday managers of NASA made an announcement that Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will conduct a spacewalk on October 21 as they will install new solar batteries. The spacewalk of Meir and Koch will be the first spacewalk conducted by women astronauts since Alexey Leonov conducted first spacewalk back in 1965 and Svetlana Savitskaya’s outer space walk back in 1984.
Megan McArthur stated that women are an integral part of team at NASA and have played a great role in different areas like management, leadership and while showcasing technical skills. She also concluded by stating that it is remarkable to see engagement of large number of women in several space programs.
At present NASA is working on a project to replace 48 space station’s batteries which had 24 lithium-ion packs. First replacement took place on January 2017 on starboard 4 and the second replacement was conducted during September 2018 on port 4. Third set will get replaced during the present month on port 6 and the final battery set will get launched during May 2020 and it will replace batteries at S6 segments.
Drew Morgan and Koch will carry battery-swap spacewalk on Sunday October 6 and then on next Friday. For third excursion, Meir and Morgan will be on the deck on October 16. This will set up a stage for Meir and Koch to conduct all-female spacewalk which will take place on October 21. Then on October 25,fifth EVA will get replaced by Luca Parmitano and Meir.
After the completion of battery replacement and EVA mission in October, the crew will focus on five other spacewalks which are scheduled for November as well as December. In this, they have to repair a detector for cosmic rays worth $2 billion which isn’t designed for orbital servicing. These spacewalks are considered most complex after the complex task of servicing of Hubble Space Telescope.