Monday, May 20, 2024

Trump misses the mark with a compliment for female astronauts

The first spacewalk of a team consisting solely of women was a historic moment last week. The American space agency NASA wrote history with the trip of astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. All the more so because it was a space suit intended for men that previously threw a spanner in the works. President Trump, too, was delighted, but fooled in a well-known manner.


It was the Russian Valentina Tereshkova who since June 1963 is the first and youngest woman in space. In Vostok 6 she flew solo through space for three days and circled the earth 48 times. More women followed her, but it was Svetlana Savitskaya who, almost twenty years after the recently deceased cosmonaut Aleksej Leonov took the very first spacewalk, was the first woman to enter the vacuum.

Savitskaya spent three hours and 35 minutes outside the Salyut 7 space station on July 25, 1984. Pretty much longer than the 12 minutes that  Leonov took in 1965 floated through the trail. In more than half a century of space travel, more than sixty women have been in space. A total of fifteen of them took a spacewalk, the highlight of last week. Never before did two women go outside at the same time.

In March, astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were to perform installation work together on the outside of the international space station ISS. Unfortunately, there was only one space suit size medium on board, so that trip had to be postponed. Delay, no adjustment. This week there were two matching suits and it was, albeit not McClain but Jessica Meir who went outside with Koch.

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Koch and Meir together replaced a broken battery charger, while their four male colleagues watched from the ISS. A memorable moment for space travel and for space organization NASA. And what could be better than the two ladies, via a live connection with the space station, to send your congratulations? President Trump thought so too, and so America’s first, in the eyes of the press, grabbed the phone.

Full of enthusiasm, the president expressed his congratulations, but painfully showed that he had little historical awareness when it came to space travel. “This is the first time a woman has left the space station,” Trump said, while his daughter Ivanka nodded in agreement. “You are amazing!” And emphasized for the second time that Koch and Meir were the first female spacewalkers.

“Don’t be nervous,” Trump had said to the astronauts, not immediately aware of his blunder. “You can now be seen on television all over the world”. Despite the millions of people, or precisely because of it, the ladies did not let the presidential slum go their way. “We do not want to take too much credit for ourselves, because there have been many female space walkers,” Meir corrected the president.

The astronaut stressed that she and Koch only build on the work of those who preceded them. ,, It’s just the first time two women go out together, and it was an interesting experience for us. We’ve talked about it a lot above, you know, but for us it’s really just our job. It is something we have trained for six years. “

It is not the first time that Trump has been put to his number from space. In 2017, when the president also called the ISS, he asked astronaut Peggy Whitson if she had an idea when the first manned flight would set sail for Mars. The fact was that Trump had put his signature under a NASA plan shortly before that. “That will be somewhere around 2030,” Whitson replied. “Exactly according to your instructions.”

Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.

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