US President Donald Trump was fact-checked from the International Space Station when he called two NASA astronauts, including an Israeli national, who embarked Friday on the first all-female space walk.
Fourteen women and 213 men have carried out spacewalks. The first woman was the Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, who went outside the USSR’s Salyut 7 space station in 1984.
Jessica Meir, a Jewish woman who is a citizen of Sweden, and Michigan-born Christina Koch floated feet first out of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock. They were tasked with replacing a failed power control unit.
According to the Daily Mail, Trump addressed the astronauts while sitting by his daughter Ivanka alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Trump reportedly congratulated the women for being the 'first ever female spacewalkers.'
"This is the first time for a woman outside the space station," he said. "You are amazing people; they are conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station."
"They are doing some work, and they are doing it in a very high altitude — an altitude that very few people will ever see," Trump said.
Meir fact-checked the President, reminding him that there have been 14 female spacewalks after Savitskaya's first-ever female spacewalk in 1984.
Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who completed three spacewalks as part of the Expedition 24 crew on the space station in 2010, was quoted by The Guardian as calling the landmark spacewalk “significant.”
“As much as it’s worth celebrating, many of us are looking forward to it just being normal,” she said.
The extra-vehicular activity, as the spacewalk is known in astronaut jargon, was delayed by seven months because the space station had only one medium-sized spacesuit on board. NASA sent up a second medium spacesuit this month, The Guardian reported.
On Tuesday, NASA unveiled the prototype for a new spacesuit that could be worn by the next crew, expected to include a woman, to land on the moon. The suit is designed to give a customized fit to the individual astronaut, whatever their shape or size.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.