Published: Tue, March 26, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

First all-female spacewalk cancelled due to lack of spacesuits

First all-female spacewalk cancelled due to lack of spacesuits

Ms Koch will now conduct Friday's spacewalk with her male colleague Nick Hague, the space agency says. Last Friday (March 22), McClain and Hague spent almost 7 hours working outside the orbiting lab to replace aging batteries on the station's solar arrays.

As The Verge writes, the decision has been made to change the people walking/wear already prepared suits, rather than try to reconfigure the spacesuits they have by Friday - which would involve adding arms and legs segments to a second medium-size torso.

In so doing, Koch will become the 14th woman to complete a spacewalk, after McClain, who was the 13th.

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 has cancelled its planned all-women spacewalk at the International Space Station this week over limited spacesuit sizes for participating astronauts.

McClain is tentatively scheduled to perform her next spacewalk with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques on April 8.

The NASA website shows the spacewalk will last about seven hours.

Heather Barr, the acting co-director of the Women's Rights Division, said: "Because it's not enough to discriminate against women everywhere on Earth". But Koch and McClain were both part of Nasa's 2013 class, which was half female. This is a part of the larger effort to overhaul the power station of the space system, NBC News reported. This is the first time in space for McClain and the first spaceflight for Koch.

There have been 214 spacewalks on the International Space Station since 1998, but all spacewalk teams so far have comprised at least one man.

McClain's next spacewalk will instead take place on April. 8, where she'll be sent out with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

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