NASA Says it Has Scheduled the First All-Female Spacewalk

Just in time for International Women’s Day, NASA announced Wednesday that it will be conducting the first-ever, all-female spacewalk, CNN reports.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain will exit the International Space Station on March 29, 35 years after the first woman performed a spacewalk. They’ll be guided from the ground by flight director Mary Lawrence, and flight controllers Jackie Kagey and Kristen Facciol, according to CNN.

NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz confirmed that the upcoming walk will be “the first with only women,” but added that “it was not orchestrated to be this way.”

Nevertheless, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Facciol Tweeted her enthusiasm about the mission.

According to NASA, any time spent outside a vehicle while in space, including fixing equipment and conducting experiments, is considered a spacewalk. Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who was the second female astronaut, became the first woman to walk in space in 1984 while testing a repair method.

Both Koch and McClain were selected as members of NASA’s 21st astronaut class in 2013, and finished training in 2015. McClain has been at the International Space Station since December 2018. Koch will will join her later this month.

NASA selected its first female astronauts in 1978, and women now account for about 34% of its astronauts.

Learn more at TIME.

Kate McCartywomen, global