U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk Friday, following a spacesuit flub earlier this year that caused the historic mission to be aborted.
Speaking from the White House, Trump hailed the work of astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who had by then spent more than four hours replacing a faulty battery component on their orbiting laboratory.
The astronauts conducting the first all-female spacewalk in history paused their hourslong endeavor to take a congratulatory phone call from President Donald Trump on Friday.
Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th US woman.
Today, Koch and Meir are working on the power systems of the ISS, swapping out a failed power regulator with a spare.
"The first woman to walk in space was Russia" s Svetlana Savitskaya, who accompanied fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov on an excursion outside their spacecraft in 1984. The spacewalk was Koch's fourth, who now has almost 28 hours of EVA time.
Koch, 40, is due to remain on the ISS until February, bringing her total time in space to 328 days, the longest single spaceflight by a woman and just short of Scott Kelly's 340-day record.
Upon watching the spacewalk begin, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson said she hopes this is just the first all-female spacewalk and that it becomes a normal occurrence.
"People are going to respond the way they respond", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a media briefing shortly before the start of the spacewalk when asked about the public reaction to both this spacewalk and the cancelled one from earlier this year. "And we're very excited to get this mission underway".
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"There have been many other female spacewalkers before us".
Koch and Meir were originally scheduled to install new batteries outside of the space station next Monday, but they were reassigned to replace a power controller as soon as possible after it failed last weekend, Mike Wall reports for Space.com.
This undated combination photo obtained from NASA shows astronauts Christina Koch, left, and Jessica Meir.
To highlight the importance of the event, NASA included an all-women commentary team on the ground - communications specialists Brandi Dean and Courtney Beasley, and astronaut Anne McClain.
Above you'll see a live feed from NASA. "What you do is incredible", he said in comments that also played up NASA plans to return to the moon and, from there, go to Mars.
NASA planned the first all-female spacewalk in March, but had to call it off because of a shortage of medium-size suits.
Meir continued: "We do, of course, want to give credit to all of those that came before us". "I think the nice thing for us is we don't even really think about it on a daily basis, it's just normal".
It took two decades for women to catch up with men in the spacewalking arena. It's significant in that [the all-women spacewalk] got to overshadow the fact that women have been doing spacewalks for over 35 years. He argued that, like professional basketball, taller people were better, which tended to favor men.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent congratulations to Koch and Meir "for leaving their mark on history" and tweeted that they're an inspiration to women and girls across America.