CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The astronauts who took part in the first all-female spacewalk are still uplifted by all the excitement down on Earth.
International Space Station resident Jessica Meir said Monday that when she floated outside last week, she wasn’t thinking about whether she was going out with a man or woman because everyone is held to the same standard. Nonetheless, she said it was extra special being accompanied by Christina Koch, a close friend.
Koch said knowing so many were so excited about two women spacewalking together “just added to the moment.” It was “uplifting,” she said, to have the opportunity to inspire future explorers.
They don’t know when they might go out together again, perhaps in coming weeks or months for more battery work.
“Hopefully it will become commonplace and it won’t even necessarily be something that’s a big deal down the road,” Koch said.
Until Friday, every spacewalk since the first in 1965 involved at least one man.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, meanwhile, hailed the “unmanned” spacewalk and noted the social media attention was tremendous.
“Wait until we land the first woman on the south pole of the moon,” Bridenstine said during the opening of the International Astronautical Congress in Washington.
NASA is shooting for 2024 for the first lunar landing by astronauts since 1972.
During a news conference from orbit, Koch said she’s pleased that some outdated phrases — manned spaceflight, unmanned rockets — are being replaced.
“Even though that language is meant to represent all of humanity, it does conjure up images of men being the main participants,” she told reporters. “So I’ve been happy to see instances of people, human, humankind, things like that being introduced. So I just continue to use that language myself and to encourage its use in others.”
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.