SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego alumna and astronaut Jessica Meir and fellow astronaut Christina Koch reflected Monday on their participation in the first all-female space walk in history.
Meir and Koch ventured outside the International Space Station on Friday morning to replace a faulty 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.
During a news conference from the International Space Station, Meir and Koch said participating in the space walk was difficult to put into words.
“I will never forget that moment coming out of the hatch and looking down and seeing just my boots and the Earth below and it was such a spectacular and beautiful sight,” Meir said. “It was really quite overwhelming and we went out and did the job that we had to do and were lucky enough to have some time to enjoy the view, as well.”
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called Meir and Koch during their walk to congratulate them on their historic achievement. Bridenstine also noted that the U.S. intends to put a man and woman on the moon in the coming years.
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.