Jessica Meir during training on Feb. 28. NASA photo by Josh Valcarcel

Astronaut Jessica Meir is scheduled to step out of the International Space Station hatch Wednesday morning for her first spacewalk.

Meir, a 42-year-old Caribou native, arrived at the space station on Sept. 25 for her first mission. That trip to space – and going on a spacewalk in particular – has been a goal of hers since she started talking about becoming an astronaut at age 5.

In her senior yearbook at Caribou High School, Meir wrote that her future plan was “to go for a spacewalk.”

As she prepared for launch in September, Meir said she was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to participate in spacewalks during her six-month mission.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to go out the hatch,” she said last month in a phone interview from Star City, Russia. “That’s when you really feel like an astronaut.”

Meir is scheduled to participate in three of the 10 spacewalks announced by NASA earlier this month. Her first will be with astronaut Andrew Morgan. On Oct. 21, Meir and astronaut Christina Koch are scheduled to go on the first all-female spacewalk.

The first all-female spacewalk was scrapped in March because two medium-sized suits needed by Koch and astronaut Anne McClain where not available. McClain has since returned to Earth. Meir and Koch are part of the same astronaut class and have trained together for six years.

Meir is also scheduled for a spacewalk on Oct. 25 with Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency.

Coverage of Meir’s first spacewalk will be aired live on NASA Television starting at 6:30 a.m. It is scheduled to start at 7:50 a.m. and expected to last 6.5 hours.

The series of 10 complex spacewalks will allow crew members to continue to upgrade the power system on the orbiting laboratory. During the first five spacewalks, crew members will upgrade existing nickel-hydrogen batteries on a port truss with more powerful lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries arrived at the space station Sept. 28 aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, according to NASA.

During the other five spacewalks, crew members will focus on repairs to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which NASA says “explores the fundamental nature of the universe.” Those spacewalks are likely to happen in November.

Within 36 hours of arriving on the space station, Meir was conducting scientific experiments, including observing crystals growing in microgravity. The experiments she will conduct range from studying gravity’s effect on the human body to protein crystal growth to radiation’s effects on people.

Since arriving in space, Meir has also posted about her mission on Instagram and Twitter, including a series of three photos of her reuniting with the other crew members already on board.

“This is how it feels when in addition to your childhood dream being fulfilled by arriving on (ISS), you’re greeted by your Astro-brothers and sisters on the other side of the hatch,” she wrote under photos of the astronauts excitedly greeting each other.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: