Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, soaring 260 miles above a wave of public interest, floated outside the International Space Station Friday for history’s first all-female spacewalk.
Floating in the Quest airlock, Koch, making her fourth spacewalk, and Meir, making her first, switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:38 a.m. EDT to officially kick off a planned five-and-a-half-hour outing. It’s the 221st spacewalk since International Space Station assembly began in 1998.
It’s also the first spacewalk in 54 years to be carried out by two women, a milestone that triggered widespread interest around the world. (Spaceflight Now)
After setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth Thursday, along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). (NASA)
30 Years ago, Voyager 1 took "The Pale Blue Dot" picture of Earth at a distance of 40 AU. In honor of the anniversary, JPL has reprocessed the original data with modern image enhancement techniques (Gizmodo):
NASA has assigned astronaut Shannon Walker to the first operational crewed flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.
Walker will join NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr., as well as Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), for a six-month expedition aboard the unique space laboratory.
This mission will be the first in a series of regular, rotational flights to the station following NASA’s certification of the new crewed system following completion and validation of SpaceX’s test flight with astronauts, known as Demo-2. This test is expected to take place in mid-to-late May as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Pending the successful Demo-2 test, Walker, Glover, Hopkins, and Noguchi will launch aboard Crew Dragon on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That launch is targeted for later this year. (NASA)
The weather was a big question this morning. Tropical Storm Arthur was now well offshore, but the skies remained completely overcast almost until launch. The weather cleared in Canaveral and also at my vantage point 30 miles south of the pad, but it didn't seem to clear between the two. As a result, I didn't actually see the rocket until a minute after it had launched.
A Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 3:10 a.m. EDT (0710 GMT) Tuesday, but SpaceX said Monday it is standing down from the mission until after the Crew Dragon’s first launch with astronauts later this month. (Spaceflight Now)
Space-X's first manned mission is scheduled for tomorrow. (However the weather looks a bit iffy.)
The mission, called Demo-2, will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff is set for for 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA's webcast of the SpaceX launch will begin at 12 p.m. EDT ... and NASA will begin continuous coverage that will run through the Demo-2 mission's arrival at the International Space Station on Thursday. (Space.com)