On March 29th, for the first time, two women will walk alone in space during an international space station mission.
This was confirmed by NASA, adding that the two astronauts, Anne McClain and Christina Koch, will be joined on the ground by another woman, Kristen Faccioli, who will follow them via radio from the Johnston space center in Houston, Texas.
In astronauts’ missions, walks in space represent a rather rare event, usually linked to the need to repair the orbiting station. So far it has been an exclusive task of men, or at most entrusted to a mixed team.
This time instead the two astronauts will have no colleague on the side. McClain and Koch, respectively 39 and 40 years old, both belong to the class of 2013, composed by men and women.
The first female presence on an American space mission dates back to 1983, when Sally Ride participated in a flight of the Challenger shuttle. Ride was the third woman ever to travel in space: the pioneer was the Russian Valentina Tereshkova twenty years earlier, followed in 1982 by her compatriot Svetlana Savitskaya.
The times described by the film “The right to count” (“Hidden figures”), inspired by the true story of the first three women employed by NASA to collaborate in the shadows, to the launch of John Glenn in Space, are long gone: the female presence today at NASA it is a fact, as shown by the last team of flight directors – that of 2018 – which includes three women and three men.