Washington – Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch left on Friday the International Space Station (EEI) on the first orbital ride without a male company, during which they will repair a control of the batteries in that facility.
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The tour started at 7:38 a.m. and for about five and a half hours Koch and Meir will work outside the ISS, a structure that travels more than 27,000 kilometers per hour about 485 kilometers from Earth.
In six and a half decades of space exploration with crew, 15 women have participated in 221 of these orbital rides, but since 1984, the Soviet Svetlana Savistskaya was the first woman to leave a ship – accompanied by cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov- All female work abroad has had male participation.
The 40-year-old engineer Koch arrived at the ISS on March 14 and is on her way to be the woman with a longer stay in space, as her mission is scheduled to last 328 days. The current women's record was set by the American Peggy Whitson, with 288 days.
The first excursion of two women was scheduled for March and the astronaut Anne McClain had to participate in it, but the American space agency NASA found that it did not have suitable suits for two women. McClain returned to land during the summer.
Her deputy, Meir, 42, is a professor at Harvard Medical School and her return to Earth is scheduled for spring (northern hemisphere) of 2020.
The mission of Koch and Meir is the replacement of one of the charge and discharge controls of the batteries that collect the energy from the solar panels at the international station.
The two women will move to the end of the IEE on Port Beam 6 to replace the energy regulator that has been in operation since December 2000.