(JTA) — Two NASA astronauts, one with Jewish roots, embarked Friday on the first all-female space walk.
Jessica Meir, the daughter of a Swedish mother and an Iraqi-Israeli father, holds Swedish and American citizenship. She is be the first Swedish woman in space. She and Michigan-born Christina Koch floated feet first out of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock to replace a failed power control unit.
Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who completed three spacewalks as part of the Expedition 24 crew on the space station in 2010, was quoted by The Guardian as calling the landmark spacewalk “significant.”
“As much as it’s worth celebrating, many of us are looking forward to it just being normal,” she said.
Fourteen women and 213 men have carried out spacewalks. The first woman was the Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who went outside the USSR’s Salyut 7 space station in 1984.
The extra-vehicular activity, as the spacewalk is known in astronaut jargon, was delayed by seven months because the space station had only one medium-sized spacesuit on board. NASA sent up a second medium spacesuit this month, The Guardian reported.
On Tuesday, NASA unveiled the prototype for a new spacesuit that could be worn by the next crew, expected to include a woman, to land on the moon. The suit is designed to give a customized fit to the individual astronaut, whatever their shape or size.