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First all-female spacewalking team makes history

In this photo released by NASA on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, U.S. astronauts Jessica Meir, left, and Christina Koch pose for a photo in the International Space Station. On Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, the two are scheduled to perform a spacewalk to replace a broken battery charger. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world’s first all-female spacewalking team made history high above Earth on Friday, replacing a broken part of the International Space Station’s power grid.

As NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir successfully completed the job with wrenches, screwdrivers and power-grip tools, it marked the first time in a half-century of spacewalking that men weren’t part of the action. They insisted they were just doing their job after years of training, following in the footsteps of women who paved the way.

America’s first female spacewalker from 35 years ago, Kathy Sullivan, was delighted. She said it’s good to finally have enough women in the astronaut corps and trained for spacewalking for this to happen.

“We’ve got qualified women running the control, running space centers, commanding the station, commanding spaceships and doing spacewalks,” Sullivan told The Associated Press earlier this week.

“And golly, gee whiz, every now and then there’s more than one woman in the same place.”

President Donald Trump put in a congratulatory call from the White House to mark “this historic event … truly historic.”

“What you do is incredible. You’re very brave people,” Trump told them as they wrapped up their spacewalk.

Replied Meir: “We don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many others — female spacewalkers — before us. This is just the first time that there have been two women outside at the same time … For us, this is really just us doing our job.”

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