NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. NASA

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NASA has carried out its first all-female spacewalk, but hints of outdated thinking about women in space remain.

Two astronauts spent their workday floating in outer space, their spacesuits tethered to the International Space Station so they didn’t drift away.

And for the first time in history, they were both women.

Christina Koch and Jessica Meir began a five-and-a-half-hour spacewalk this morning to replace a battery component on the station’s exterior. The device, which is used to charge the solar-powered batteries that power the station, failed last weekend.

The spacewalk itself was pretty uneventful—spacewalks, as I recently learned while watching seven hours of one, are essentially home-improvement projects for humankind’s home in space, complete with drills, bolts, and sore muscles. The excitement around the event was about the spacewalkers themselves, the 14th and 15th women to spacewalk since the first woman, the Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, did it in 1984. Anticipation was especially high after an earlier attempt at an all-female spacewalk in March. That lineup was scrapped at the last minute after two female astronauts found that the ISS didn’t have enough spacesuits in the size they needed. This time, NASA officials said, astronauts had the right stuff, sartorially speaking.