Koch is scheduled to launch for the station March 14 aboard a Roscosmos Soyuz spacecraft along with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.
On March 29, if all goes according to plan, astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will exit the International Space Station to conduct work outside the spacecraft-marking the first time in history that a spacewalk has been conducted by an all-female crew, reports Shaiann Frazier of NBC News. This will be a true reality and a big achievement in the history of NASA to have a complete unmanned team to undertake their project.
US astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, a member of the International Space Station expedition, attends her final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Center in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, Feb. 20, 2019. NASA says spacewalks are conducted for repairs, testing equipment and conducting experiments.
"As now scheduled, the March 29th spacewalk will be the first with only women", NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN in an emailed statement confirming the mission. The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA's website. It will be the second of three walks scheduled for Expedition 59's mission.
In addition to Facciol, the spacewalk will have NASA's Mary Lawrence as its Lead Flight Director and Jackie Kagey as the EVA (spacewalk) flight controller, a NASA spokesperson told CNN.
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After the news became public, McClain posted a view of Earth from space to her Twitter page with the caption, "the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight".
NASA opened the space program to female applicants in 1978.
McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50 percent women.
In the almost 60 years of spaceflight, there have only been four times when expeditions included two female members trained for spacewalks.