Ever since Alexei Leonov first floated around like a Soviet piñata outside his Voskhod 2 spacecraft in 1965, people have been free floating in space, first to learn how, then to get things done. While the first woman walked in space back in 1984 (cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, on Salyut 7), today is the first time a multi-astronaut spacewalk has been undertaken with an all-female crew. It’s about damn time.
This was originally planned to happen back in March, but had to be postponed because enough of the smaller EVA spacesuits on the station were not yet ready.
But they’re ready now, and astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are climbing around the exterior of the International Space Station as we speak, conducting repairs to replace a failed power controller known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). You can watch it all happening right here:
Watching repair missions like these are oddly soothing and fascinating; they’re planned down to every detail, including counting every turn of screws and bolts, and incredibly methodical. This makes sense, since it’s such a colossal undertaking to get out there and correct any mistakes. Also, anything dropped has the potential to become dangerous orbital debris.
So far, they’re ahead of schedule, and it’s all going great. This has to be the most exciting way to, among other things, plug and unplug ethernet cables possible.