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US President Donald Trump is up against it in the polls as he looks to secure four more years in the White House. Democratic rival Joe Biden looks to be on course to topple the Republican and move into the Oval Office. However, it would be foolish to rule out a Trump victory even at this stage ‒ as he would have lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, if the election race was judged by polling.
As the election race approaches its latter stages, talk has turned to what might change if there is a new administration.
Mr Trump’s enthusiasm for investing in NASA projects is well-known while Mr Biden appears to be more focused on rebuilding the economy in an environmentally-friendly way.
However, Mr Trump’s passion for space exploration was not there to save him last year when he contacted the International Space Station to congratulate Jessica Meir and Christina Koch for completing an all female spacewalk.
Mr Trump congratulated the pair for being the “first ever female spacewalkers”.
However, after a delay in connection between the US President and the space station, Ms Meir made it clear that she and Ms Koch were not, in fact, the first female spacewalkers.
They weren’t even second ‒ the first female spacewalk took place in 1984 and 14 more followed.
The mistake came as Mr Trump sat in the White House with daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence.
They were joined by a group of NASA officials and a contingent of Girl Scouts.
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Mr Trump said: “This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station.
“You are amazing people. They’re conducting the first ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station.
“They’re doing some work, and they’re doing it at a very high altitude — an altitude that very few people will ever see.”
Ms Meir then corrected the President, explaining that the event marked the first time two women had been outside the spacecraft at the same time.
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Ms Meir said: “We don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before.
“This is the first time that there’s been two women outside at the same time.”
In 1984, Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya became the first woman to complete a spacewalk.
In the 35 years since, a total of 15 women have spacewalked.
Ms Meir and Ms Koch spent seven hours outside the space station as they replaced a failed power control unit.
The spacewalk was streamed live by NASA and is a landmark for female astronauts.
Ms Koch had already carried out four spacewalks but it was the first time for Ms Meir.
The mission was planned for March 2019 but one of the astronauts was replaced by a man because her space suit didn’t fit.
Many prominent female figures in the US held the spacewalk in high regard as an event of national and international significance.
Kamala Harris, now Mr Biden’s running mate and Vice Presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter: “For the first time in our nation’s history, an all-female crew walked in space today.
“It’s more than historic ‒ it’s a reminder that for women, even the sky doesn’t have to be the limit.”
Kathy Sullivan, the first US female spacewalker, who carried out her mission 35 years ago, said she was delighted by yesterday’s milestone.
A NASA spokesperson added: “Our achievements provide inspiration to students around the world, proving that hard work can lead you to great heights, and all students should be able to see themselves in those achievements.”
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