For the first time in history, a spacewalk is performed by women only. The Americans Christina Koch and Jessica Meir have left the international space station ISS today. On the outside of the floating laboratory, they have to replace a broken part of a battery.
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During the final preparations, while the women were already in the airlock of the space station and checked their suits for leaks, they flew over the Netherlands at an altitude of 421 kilometres and at a speed of 27,597 kilometres per hour. The ISS visited Dordrecht and Nijmegen, among others.
Koch was actually planning a spacewalk in March with another female astronaut, Anne McClain. But shortly before, no second space suit appeared to be available in the size medium. McClain was replaced by a man. Now there is no clothing problem. Today’s walk takes approximately five hours.
The first spacewalk was performed in 1965 by the recently deceased Russian Alexei Leonov. Since then, more than two hundred men and only fourteen women have made such a trip. Svetlana Savitskaya from the Soviet Union was the first spacewalker in 1984.
Koch must return to Earth in February. She has been in space for 335 days straight, the longest continuous space journey a woman has ever taken.