Scratch That: First All-Female Spacewalk Canceled For Lack Of Medium-Sized Spacesuit

Enlarge ImageNASA astronaut Anne Mc Clain during her March 22 spacewalk.                  NASA

Enlarge ImageNASA astronaut Anne Mc Clain during her March 22 spacewalk. NASA

The pair will be working to install powerful lithium-ion batteries for the International Space Station during their mission. She said two upper parts in each of the three available spacesuit sizes are now held at the space station: medium, large and extra large. However, in order for them to walk, they both required a medium-sized spacesuit torso component, of which only one was available at the space station.

The space agency previously announced that Christina Koch and Anne McClain would participate in a mission, completely carried out and led by women, on 29 March. In this case, NASA doesn't want to put McClain in a spacesuit that doesn't fit her well for the sole goal of hitting the "first all-female spacewalk" milestone.

The outlet reported that McClain had initially meant to wear a large-sized suit, before deciding she would feel more comfortable in a medium-sized suit during a spacewalk last week.

But the space walk, with Anne McClain and Christina Koch, has been cancelled due to a lack of medium-sized space suits.

Koch will now be joined by Hague for the March 28 spacewalk, NASA said. They can not risk one of their astronauts in order to pull off a "historic moment".

These spacewalks are months late, and with cargo deliveries coming up, NASA wants to keep everything on track. An agency spokesperson said March 25 that McClain trained for the spacewalks on the ground in using medium and large torso segments, and initially thought that the larger suit would work, but concluded after the March 22 spacewalk that the smaller suit would be more comfortable. Koch also wears a medium, and Schierholz said although there are two mediums on board, only one of them is in "a readily usable configuration".

It was only later when they discussed the details of the mission that they realized that it would have been the first scheduled spacewalk done by an all-women crew. The Kansas native will replace one of two women who were scheduled for that spacewalk. "It is more efficient to swap spacewalkers than to reconfigure the elements of the spacesuit".

The third spacewalk in the series is scheduled for April 8.

Out of more than 500 individuals who have been to space, less than 11 percent were women. "NASA looks forward to being able to celebrate the first all-female spacewalk, and other firsts for females in the future", Dean adds.

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