Aroostook County native Jessica Meir will venture outside the International Space Station on Wednesday when she will take her first spacewalk.
Meir, 42, will partner with fellow astronaut Andrew Morgan for the latest in a series of spacewalks to replace solar array batteries to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system, according to NASA.
The spacewalk is scheduled to start about 7:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time and last more than six hours. Coverage on NASA Television will begin about 6:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed on the BDN’s website.
Meir, who is from Caribou, arrived on Sept. 25 at the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and Emirati astronaut Hazz Al Mansouri. She will be stationed there until spring 2020.
Meir, the valedictorian of Caribou High School’s Class of 1995, was among three women and four men selected from 6,100 applicants in 2013 for NASA’s 21st class of astronauts. She is the third Mainer, and first Maine woman, to enter into outer space, the others being Christopher Cassidy, a York High School graduate who has completed six spacewalks and served as the nation’s chief astronaut from 2013 to 2017, and Charles O. Hobaugh, a Bar Harbor native who has made three spaceflights.
Her partner for Wednesday’s spacewalk, Morgan, is also a member of the 21st class of astronauts. Morgan, who is from New Castle, Pennsylvania, is serving a flight engineer for Expeditions 60, 61 and 62, according to NASA.
Meir is scheduled for two other spacewalks this month, on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. Meir and Christina Koch’s Oct. 21 spacewalk will be the first all-female spacewalk. That comes almost seven months after NASA scrapped its planned all-female spacewalk by Koch and Anne McClain because it did not have two properly fitted space suits.
“What we’re doing now shows all the work that went in for the decades prior [and] all the women that worked to get us where we are today,” Meir told NASA TV earlier this month when asked about the milestone. “The nice thing for us is we don’t even think about it on a daily basis. It’s just normal, we’re just part of the team, and we’re doing this work as an efficient team working together with everybody else. It’s really nice to see how far that we’ve come.”
On Oct. 25, Meir will partner with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano for her third spacewalk.