(WWLP) – Two astronauts are making history Friday morning as the first women to embark on NASA’s first all-female spacewalk.
According to NASA, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station at about 7:50 a.m. to replace a faulty power unit on the station’s exterior called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU).
NASA is live-streaming the event. Koch will be wearing a spacesuit with the red stripes, and Meir will be wearing a suit with no stripes.
They BCDU failed to activate following the October 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries that were installed on the station’s exterior, according to NASA. The battery charge/discharge units regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the station’s solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the complex orbits during nighttime passes around the Earth.
NASA said the BCDU failure has not impacted station operations or crew safety but it does prevent the new batteries from providing increased station power.
Meir will be the 15th woman to spacewalk. Forty-three spacewalks have included a woman since 1984 when a Russian cosmonaut spacewalked in July of that year and a NASA astronaut did in October.