All-female Spacewalk Livestream: Watch Live As NASA Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir Perform Historic Spacewalk

The first all-female spacewalk is set to take place at 7:50 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 18, according to NASA.

The space agency brought the historic spacewalk forward from its original date next week after a critical battery charger in the International Space Station (ISS) failed over the weekend.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will now be sent out of the space station earlier than scheduled to replace the component, NASA officials said. The original spacewalk—scheduled for October 21—would have been the third of five conducted by ISS astronauts to install new batteries on the space station but NASA says the charger issue will now be fixed first.

Koch and Meir's spacewalk will be streamed live on NASA Television and the agency's website with coverage beginning at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the spacewalk. The space agency will broadcast the event—which is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours—in its entirety.

The faulty battery charge/discharge unit, or BCDU for short, failed to activate after astronauts installed new batteries on the ISS on October 11. The BCDU regulates the amount of charge that the station's batteries receive from the spacecraft's solar panels during periods when the station passes through the nighttime side of the Earth in its orbit.

"As a result, we are down some amount of power on that channel, which we consider to be a core channel," Stephanie Schierholz, a spokesperson for NASA, told Newsweek. "The teams want to understand why we've had two of these types of failures in a short period of time—a similar thing happened earlier this year—and if there's a common cause."

Despite the failure of the charging unit, science operations are continuing as normal and the crew are not in any danger. The station has other functioning charging units that can carry the burden left by the failed one. However, NASA officials say that while the situation is manageable for now it is not desirable in the long-term.

Thursday or Friday's spacewalk will be Koch's fourth and Meir's first. They will be the first two women to perform a spacewalk together, despite the fact that the first one took place in 1965.

"Christina and Jessica's spacewalk will be the 221st in support of International Space Station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades," Schierholz said.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. NASA

All four astronauts onboard the ISS currently are capable of carrying out the repair work on the battery chargers, however, NASA officials said Koch and Meir were chosen for this particular spacewalk to ensure that the workload was spread evenly among the astronauts.

Last spring, NASA had to cancel what would have been the first all-female spacewalk due to a shortage of available medium-size space suits.