NASA will soon be making a historic move by conducting the first ever all-female spacewalk that that just so happens to coincide with Women’s History Month, reports HuffPost.
“The International Space Station spacewalk, part of Expedition 59, is scheduled for March 29, and will include astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, as well as Jackie Kagey as the lead EVA, or spacewalk, flight controller,” reports the outlet. “The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA’s website.“
NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton confirmed in a statement to HuffPost that the spacewalk will be historic, cautioning that unforeseen events could change the outcome.
“The March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” Hambleton said. “Assignments and schedules could always change.”
Hambleton added that the all-female spacewalk taking place during Women’s History Month was entirely coincidental.
“It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Hambleton said.
More from HuffPost:
The on-the-ground flight control team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will include lead flight director Mary Lawrence and NASA engineer Kristen Facciol.
Facciol tweeted her excitement last week, writing, “I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!!”
Spacewalks are somewhat rare and are usually done for reasons that include exterior work on a spacecraft or satellite, or testing new equipment.
Unlike other male-dominated industries, NASA rarely gets much attention from feminists, primarily due to the fact that the number of female astronauts in space has been steadily increasing since Sally Ride came onto the scene in 1983.
“To date, nearly 60 American women have flown in space,” according to The Atlantic. “The latest class of NASA astronauts, selected in 2013, includes four women and four men. What’s most interesting, Weitekamp says, is not the gender parity. Two of the women have something the earliest female astronauts couldn’t: military backgrounds. One of them, Anne McClain, is an Army major who flew helicopters during combat missions in Iraq.”
In fact, the biggest scuffle feminists have gotten into with NASA occurred in 2014, and it had nothing to do with representation or gender disparity and everything to do with a Hawaiian shirt one scientist wore featuring scantily-clad woman brandishing a firearm. From the New York Post:
Matt Taylor lives in a different time. He is the British project scientist for the Rosetta mission that succeeded last week in landing a module on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, some 300 million miles from Earth.
The mission took a journey of 4 billion miles and is a feat that has been compared to landing a fly on a speeding bullet. It is, in short, a thrilling triumph for human ingenuity.
In discussing the mission on camera after the landing, Taylor wore a Hawaiian-style shirt depicting cartoonish, scantily clad, buxom women brandishing firearms. And just like that, Taylor stood for the subjugation of women and their exclusion from the world of science.
Taylor was mercilessly condemned on Twitter and the Internet until the next day he apologized in tears, for having committed the sartorial equivalent of a thought crime.