In what could have been a historic moment, NASA had announced the first all-female spacewalk will happen on March 29. However, the US space agency cancelled the all-female spacewalk citing ‘lack of space suits’ in the right size.
Earlier this month, NASA had announced that American astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will step outside International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. A spacewalk is any time an astronaut gets out of a vehicle while in space. It lets astronauts work outside their spacecraft and during the spacewalk, they wear spacesuits to keep themselves safe.
Both Anne and Christina required a medium-sized suit for the spacewalk, however, there was the only one available.
Although NASA said that Anne McClain was trained in both medium and large suits, they later realised that medium size fits her best.
“McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso – essentially the shirt of the spacesuit – fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it,” a press release from the agency stated.
Anne will now be replaced by her male colleague, Nick Hague because as per NASA “it’s safer & faster to change spacewalker assignments than reconfigure spacesuits.”
We’ve seen your tweets about spacesuit availability for Friday’s spacewalk. To clarify, we have more than 1 medium size spacesuit torso aboard, but to stay on schedule with @Space_Station upgrades, it’s safer & faster to change spacewalker assignments than reconfigure spacesuits. pic.twitter.com/tPisBHaF2p
— NASA (@NASA) March 26, 2019
Anne will perform the next spacewalk, on April 8, with another male astronaut, David Saint-Jacques.
The news was met with disappointment and anger among the netizens.
Make another suit. https://t.co/mu9w13xsi0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 26, 2019
Shameful! #NASA has canceled the first all-women #spacewalk because the almighty organisation doesn’t have enough the medium-size spacesuits for women. Instead of reconfiguring the existing spacesuits, the final decision is to replace a woman astronaut by a male colleague.
— Maja Bjelos (@MajaBjelos) March 26, 2019