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NASA achieves first all-female spacewalk with astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch

By Josh Weiss
Christina Koch and Jessica Meir

NASA made history on Friday with the first all-female spacewalk conducted by American astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. This was Koch's fourth spacewalk and Meir's first.

The seven-hour mission resulted in the replacement of a defective battery charger on the International Space Station's truss structure, which brought back "power capabilities for station operations and ongoing research" for future manned trips to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

"For us, it's just coming out here and doing our job today," said Meir, the 15th American woman ever to spacewalk, in a statement from outer space. "We were the crew that was tasked with this assignment. At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do, of course, want to give credit to all those that came before us. There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers, and astronauts and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today."

"I think it's important because of the historical nature of what we're doing and that in the past, women haven't always been at the table," added Koch (via CNN). "It's wonderful to be contributing to human spaceflight at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role and that can lead, in turn, to increased chance for success. There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stories from people that look like them and I think it's an important aspect of the story to tell."

“Congratulations, Christina and Jessica, on this historic event," said President Donald Trump in a video message from the White House, which can be seen in the video above. "What you do is really something special. So first the moon, and then we go to Mars."

"Today's achievement paves the way for our #Artemis program that will send the first woman to the Moon in 2024!" wrote NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Twitter. He followed that up with "Ad Astra!"—a Latin phrase that means "To the stars," which served as the title for James Gray's recent spacefaring odyssey with Brad Pitt.

Koch and Meir will participate in a live, 30-minute press conference tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 21) to recap the momentous event. It is airing on NASA Television and the agency's website right here.