April 21, 2019

USA space agency cancels first all-female spacewalk

29 March 2019, 10:00 | Edward Lowe

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

Suit issue ends first all-women spacewalk

Anne McClain during a spacewalk on the ISS on March 22. There wouldn't be enough medium-sized spacesuit torsos available in time for the Friday event.

Astronaut Anne McClain was supposed to float out of the International Space Station this Friday with newly arrived Christina Koch, to replace old batteries.

"Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgement". "We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated". However, after consulting with McClain and Hague following the first spacewalk, mission managers chose to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station. "Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it", NASA explained.

Bigelow Aerospace habitat
NASA Scrapped The Historic All-Women Spacewalk

Naturally, NASA's statement prompted outcry on Twitter, with many pointing out the irony of commemorating Women's History Month by sending in a male astronaut to take a female astronaut's place.

"No one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space", she said.

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Almost 60 years after the first human blasted off into space, less than 11% of the 500-plus people who have travelled to space have been women.

The first All-female spacewalk has to wait a little more.

The news that the first all-female spacewalk would not happen this week sparked conversations on social media about sexism and gender bias at NASA.

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Spacesuits don't always fit quite the same on Earth as they do in space. In space these suits can only be worn in the shuttle.

Schierholz refutes any immediate need for a new space suit. On the other hand, wearing a HUT that is too small can cause shoulder injuries, the report states. And, in a nutshell, it all has to do with astronauts growing in size while in orbit.

McClain certainly isn't the first woman to face problems with spacesuit sizes. The suit does not come as a whole, but rather as a collection of suit parts that come in several sizes, to ensure a comfortable fit for each astronaut.

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