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NASA Confirms Spacewalk Scheduled With The First Ever All-Women Astronauts

In addition to the two women in space, another woman, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, is expected to be on the console at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, providing support on the seven-hour spacewalk.

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U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, a member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station, before the launch of Soyuz MS-11 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

The U.S. space agency NASA has confirmed that it has scheduled a spacewalk by two female astronauts for the first time.

A NASA spokeswoman told CNN Wednesday, “As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women.”

The spacewalk, staffed by astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will be the second spacewalk of three during Expedition 59, which launches March 14.

U.S. 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.
U.S. 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. VOA

Koch is a member of Expedition 59, while McClain is currently part of the three-person crew of the International Space Station.

In addition to the two women in space, another woman, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, is expected to be on the console at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, providing support on the seven-hour spacewalk.

Male astronauts Nick Hague and David Saint-Jacques will participate in the first and third spacewalks.

It is unclear yet what is to be accomplished on the spacewalk. NASA says spacewalks are conducted for repairs, testing equipment and conducting experiments. (VOA)

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Space Rock Twice the Size of Big Ben to Skim Past Earth: NASA

"These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known," said NASA's Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson

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University of Iowa, Radiation, Sun
FILE - Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 14, 2010. VOA

NASA is closely monitoring an asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 755 feet — larger than the Golden Gate Bridge tower or more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben — that is currently heading towards Earth and is expected to skim past the planet on Monday.

Flying towards the planet at a speed of over 61,500 miles per hour, the Near-Earth Object (NEO) is big enough to destroy an entire city if collides with the Earth.

The approaching asteroid has been identified as “2020 AQ1”.

According to Express.co.uk, the asteroid will make its closest Earth approach on January 20 at around 2.54 am EST (1.24 pm India time).

The European Space Agency (ESA) has identified 21,655 NEO asteroids and 109 NEO comets.

NASA
Earth’s view from moon’s surface. Pixabay

The asteroid will hurtle past the planet on what astronomers have described as a “close approach” trajectory.

NASA’s trackers estimate the rock measures somewhere in the range of 328 feet -754 feet across – more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben.

Last September, a pair of asteroids flew past the Earth.

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“These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known,” said NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson.

“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” he added. (IANS)