UCSD Alumna Jessica Meir in first all-female spacewalk
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – UC San Diego alumna Jessica Meir participated in NASA’s first all-female spacewalk Friday to replace a faulty power unit outside the International Space Station.
Meir and Christina Koch replaced a battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after new lithium-ion batteries were installed on the space station’s exterior structure Oct. 11, according to NASA.
Meir was extravehicular crew member, 2 wearing the suit with no stripes, while Koch was extravehicular crew member 1, wearing the spacesuit with red stripes.
Meir is the 15th woman to walk in space and 14th American woman. The spacewalk was the 43rd to include at least one woman, according to NASA.
Cmdr. Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and NASA flight engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Parmitano controlled the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support.
During the walk, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, presidential advisor Ivanka Trump and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called Meir and Koch to congratulate them on their historic accomplishment.
“Today’s historic effort continues to lay the foundation for our Artemis program, when the first woman and next man walk on the surface of the moon in preparation for the next giant leap — sending astronauts to Mars,” Bridenstine said.
The spacewalk was livestreamed on NASA’s website at nasa.gov/nasalive just before 4 a.m. PDT.
Meir flew to space aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft late last month for the first time and is expected to spend roughly six months aboard the ISS to conduct research. She is expected to make a second spacewalk later this month.
Meir earned a doctorate from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009 and was selected as an astronaut in 2013.