The first all-women spacewalk was interrupted by a call from Donald Trump who thought women had never walked in space before
The first all-women spacewalk took place on Friday, but it was interrupted by a phone call from Donald Trump who thought that women had never walked in space.
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch went outside the International Space Station, on October 18, for the first spacewalk by women without a man alongside them.
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) October 20, 2019
This was Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first, and from their position on the platform they were able to see the Earth pass beneath their feet. Or, as Donald Trump put it: “They’re doing some work and they’re doing it in a very high altitude.”
The US president called the two astronauts in the middle of their spacewalk, and despite the women being more than 400,000 meters above sea level, Trump reassured them and said: “You’re right now on television all over the world, so don’t get nervous.”
Trump then went on to make a fairly crucial mistake; while he was right that they were “making history”, he added: “This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station.”
Meir politely corrected him, saying: “First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many other female space-walkers before us.
“This is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time. It’s really interesting for us… This is really just us doing our job.
“At the same time, we recognise that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit to all those who came before us.
“There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers and astronauts. We have followed in their footsteps to get where are today.”
As Meir corrected the president, he adjusted his hair with his middle finger, in a gesture that some on social media are saying was intentional.
Did he give her the finger after she inadvertently spoke over him???
— icandigit (@candiluflu) October 18, 2019
The history-making astronaut went on discuss the hard work it took to get to space, and to encourage young women who wanted to get into the industry.
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The president did not acknowledge his mistake, but instead gave a confusing speech about the US launching a rocket off the moon to get to Mars.
The connection was then cut off, and Trump said: “Maybe they didn’t like my message.”
Filling the silence, Trump continued: “So anyway, they’re actually outside of the ship, so that’s something, that’s the first time…”
Before he got into trouble again, his daughter Ivanka jumped in and said: “The first time since 1969 that a president has spoken to astronauts outside of the spaceship.”
“That was uh… that’s a great thing… when are they coming back?” said Trump.
Earlier this year, a lesbian NASA astronaut was accused of the first ever “space crime”, and became a meme around the world.