NASA’s going to give this another try. It wiselyin March after a spacesuit sizing problem meant the right suit components weren’t available for the endeavor. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will now get a chance to make history as early as Friday.
Koch and Meir are scheduled to step outside the International Space Station at 4:50 a.m. PT on Oct. 18, but there’s a chance the spacewalk could get pushed back.
The space agency will broadcast the spacewalk on NASA TV with coverage set to start at 3:30 a.m. PT on Friday. Crew members are expected to spend over five hours out in the vacuum of space.
Koch was one of the astronauts scheduled for the original all-female spacewalk. The other was Anne McClain, who has since returned to Earth. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk, and Meir’s first.
This week’s event will be a departure from a previously scheduled series of expeditions to replace old batteries outside the ISS with newer technology. Those spacewalks will happen at a later time.
This first all-female spacewalk was originally set to take place on Oct. 21, but NASA moved the date up so Koch and Meir can replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU) that failed to work as expected after an Oct. 11 spacewalk to install new batteries.
NASA emphasized that the faulty BCDU doesn’t pose any danger to the station or the astronauts, but it’s preventing the ISS from receiving an expected increase in power.
Space fans have been waiting for this spacewalk for a long time. If it happens as scheduled, it’ll be another proud moment in space history.
Originally published Oct. 15.