The first all-female spacewalk is set to take place Oct. 21 with an astronaut from North Carolina — seven months delayed because NASA didn't have enough spacesuits of the correct size.
Christina Koch, who grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and attended N.C. State, will join Jessica Meir in the historic spacewalk that is part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the International Space Station's power system.
It's not the only historic thing she's doing above Earth. Koch, who has been in space since March, is scheduled to remain at the space station until February — and her 328 days in space would set a record for the longest spaceflight by a woman.
"I think it's important because of the historical nature of what we're doing," Koch said in an interview posted on the International Space Station's Twitter page. "In the past, women haven't always been at the table, and it's wonderful to be contributing to the human space flight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role, and that can lead in turn to an increased chance for success."
Koch originally was schedueled to make the spacewalk with then-crewmate Anne McClain in March. The week of the scheduled walk, however, NASA realized it only had one medium-sized spacesuit at the International Space Station.
Another medium spacesuit was launched to the space station this year, according to Kirk Shireman, NASA's program manager for the International Space Station.
Both Koch and Meir have done spacewalks before.
"There are a lot of people that derive motivation from inspiring stories from people that look like them, and I think it's an important aspect of the story to tell," Koch said.
All hands on deck! Suited up this week in preparation for 5 spacewalks in a row to upgrade the @Space_Station solar array batteries. Work begins on Sunday! Watch the spacewalk live at https://t.co/zCjhcX2LD1 pic.twitter.com/VQppdAhGba
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) October 4, 2019