ISS – Onslow County native, former North Carolina State University student, and now astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) Christina Koch made history Monday taking part in the first ‘all female’ spacewalk with fellow astronaut Jessica Meir. The pair were continuing critical repair and replace work on battery installations.
Megan McArthur, deputy manager of the astronaut office at the Johnson Space Center, told reporters, essentially, that the assignment of two female astronauts to this job was a function of merit, not scoring ‘woke’ points.
“All of our crew members are completely qualified to do this, and the fact that it will be two women just is a reflection of the fact that we have so many capable, qualified women in the office… That’s a great benefit to all of us.”
It’s not the only line in the record books that the NC State graduate will occupy; Koch is in the process of logging the longest single flight by a female of any nationality. She is scheduled to return to Earth February 2020, after having logged 328 days in space. (The overall the U.S. record was set by astronaut Scott Kelly at 340)
That’s quite a feat and an incredible example of a modern day North Carolinian embodying the Esse Quam Videri motto. Equally impressive is the technical engineering required of these astronauts, while in their suits floating in space, in order to keep the space station safely and optimally functioning.
This latest spacewalk is one of many, some by Koch, to replace an array of battery systems to keep the solar power arrays at peak efficiencies for the next few years. As such it likely won’t be the last time the women pair up to do their jobs floating above the Earth. Learn more about the work the astronauts are doing, and Koch’s impressive career on the ISS, here.