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Maine astronaut Jessica Meir to participate in first spacewalk conducted by two women

Astronauts Christina Koch (right) and Jessica Meir posed for a photo aboard the International Space Station earlier this month.
Astronauts Christina Koch (right) and Jessica Meir posed for a photo aboard the International Space Station earlier this month. NASA/Associated Press

Maine astronaut Jessica Meir, the first woman from Maine to go into space, is set to venture out this week as part of the first spacewalk ever conducted by two women, NASA officials said.

Meir, a native of Caribou, is scheduled to join astronaut Christina Koch on Friday to replace a power controller that failed over the weekend, NASA said in a statement Tuesday.

Meir was set to conduct her first spacewalk Wednesday with astronaut Andrew Morgan to continue a series of spacewalks to upgrade the station’s batteries. This walk was postponed in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit, the statement said.

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The failure did not affect the station’s overall power supply, which is fed by batteries and solar arrays. However, it does prevent a new lithium-ion battery that was installed in a spacewalk earlier this month from providing additional power, NASA said.

On Oct. 7, Meir tweeted that the five-spacewalk series to replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries with the more powerful lithium-ion batteries was off to an “epic start.” The first two spacewalks in this series were conducted by Koch and Morgan on Oct. 6 and Oct. 11, according to NASA.

Meir reached the station Sept. 25 on a Russian Soyuz rocket along with Oleg Skripochka from Russia and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates, NASA said in a statement Sept. 25.

She will spend more than six months on the station, “conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development,” NASA said.


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.