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The NASA spacewalk, originally scheduled for earlier this year was derailed when a last minute size adjustment required a spacesuit change.
The spacesuits, known as Extravehicular Mobility Unit, are actually made of component parts: three hard upper torso sizes, four leg sizes, seven lower arm sizes, two waist sizes, and two boot sizes. With the variety of customizations, they can take up to 12 hours to assemble.
Spacewalking is one of the most dangerous tasks that an astronaut has to complete and having a suit that fits is critical. A spacesuit is like a mini spacecraft, it provide a life support system, battery power, communications systems, and radiation protection—so needless to say it is imperative that the spacesuit is a perfect fit for the astronaut.
With the spacesuits finally prepped and ready to go, Koch and Meir were able to make history.
This was Koch’s fourth walk and Meir’s first and in the 54 years since the first spacewalk took place, only 15 participants have been women. But those numbers might increase soon. Both Koch and Meir’s 2013 astronaut class was 50% women and 12 out of 38 of NASA’s active astronauts are women.
Not to mention, when Koch returns to Earth next February, she will have spent 328 days in space, breaking the record for longest spaceflight for a woman astronaut of any nationality.
Learn more about this historic spacewalk on this episode of Elements.
#NASA #Women #Space #Spacewalk
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