NASA nixes 1st all-female spacewalk due to suit-sizing issue

Anushka Sharma is the Co Founder of the London Space Network

Anushka Sharma is the Co Founder of the London Space Network Credit Rebecca Naen

However, figuring out what size spacesuit an astronaut needs is a bit more complicated than simply taking measurements and trying on things like you would if you were being fitted for a business suit at a clothing store on Earth.

Well it is not that they were not necessarily prepared, NASA released a statement which said:Koch had been scheduled to conduct this spacewalk with astronaut McClain, in what would have been the first all-female spacewalk...

According to sources only one space suit could be made available by Friday, 29 March and Koch will wear it, NASA said.

The Nasa astronaut who had to pull out of Nasa's first ever all-female spacewalk has said that she recommended that the major milestone did not go ahead.

McClain and Koch were both part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50 percent women. Unfortunately, a last-second swap has led to one of the expected participants, Anne McClain, being replaced with fellow ISS inhabitant Nick Hague.

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U.S. astronaut Anne McClain, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), gestures prior to the launch of Soyuz MS-11 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in December 2018. And as Ars Technica reporter and NASA expert Eric Berger notes, having a well-fitting spacesuit is crucial to executing basic tasks in space, so "if McClain was uncomfortable in a large spacesuit, she (and NASA) made the correct call here". There wouldn't be enough medium-sized spacesuit torsos available in time for the Friday event.

The New York Times, quoting a NASA spokeswoman, reported that there are two medium-sized torsos now on the ISS but "one has yet to be properly configured for a spacewalk".

That's because men have always outnumbered women in space.

Schierholz refutes any immediate need for a new space suit. Unfortunately, the extra height didn't help with the fit of the large HUT. So, in support of McClain, Orangetheory has offered to fund the creation of a new spacesuit tailored to fit women.

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