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NASA preparing for first all-female spacewalk later this week

CARIBOU, Maine — Astronauts Jessica Meir, a Caribou native, and Christina Kock are preparing for a spacewalk scheduled for later this week, according to a NASA press release.

While an exact date and time for the walk is not yet set, NASA wrote that Meir and Koch will embark into space to “replace a power controller that failed over the weekend,” adding that “the crew is safe as science and maintenance operations continue normally on the orbiting lab.”

Meir was originally scheduled to embark on a spacewalk today to replace a faulty power unit, but station managers decided to postpone the spacewalk as “the failed unit has no impact on the crew’s safety or ongoing laboratory experiments.” They added that the failed power unit “does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.”

Back on Earth, officials in Meir’s hometown of Caribou have planned several events leading up to a downlink in which students from her former school will have an opportunity to speak with Meir while she’s aboard the International Space Station. 

The downlink event, which is not open to the public due to limited seating, will occur on Oct. 29 at the Caribou Performing Arts Center. The Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center will host a stream of the downlink, which can be viewed via NASA’s YouTube channel.

NASA has not yet set a specific time for the downlink, but Caribou High School Principal Travis Barnes said on Wednesday that NASA will notify the city of the exact time on Oct. 17.

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