April 21, 2019

NASA cancels first all-women spacewalk due to lack of small spacesuits

29 March 2019, 02:12 | Edward Lowe

What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble on the path to equality after USA space agency Nasa cancelled the first all-female spacewalk because of a lack of a spacesuit in the right size.

Astronaut Anne McClain and fellow astronaut Christina Koch were set to exit the ISS to conduct a six-hour mission to replace two large lithium-ion batteries outside the space station on March 29. The project will still take place, but a male astronaut will walk in McClain's place.

So, NASA made a decision to swap the crew's spacewalking assignments, with Hague taking McClain's place for the second spacewalk and McClain taking Hague's assignment for the third spacewalk on April 8, when she'll head out with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

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There is more than one medium-size spacesuit torso on board the ISS, Nasa explained, but it would not be able to make it available in time for Friday.

What was supposed to be one small step for woman, one big spacewalk for womankind has been canceled after NASA reported that enough spacesuits could not be configured in time for both participating female astronauts.

The spacewalk will go ahead on Friday, but Ms Koch will now be accompanied by her male colleague Nick Hague, rather than Ms McClain.

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Others said they were sad that a milestone moment for women's space exploration had been deferred, but safety came first.

In her tweet, Hillary urged to "Make another suit". Both Hague and Saint-Jacques take large.

"Astronauts who do not fit comfortably into available suit sizes can have increased accessibility issues", according to a report from the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG). Speaking with CNN, NASA representatives offered a deeper explanation. Koch, who has a background in electrical engineering and physics, will launch into space on March 14 and join McClain at the ISS.

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