First All-Female Spacewalk Aborted Due to Ill-Fitting Suit

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Originally, astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were slated to make history during their spacewalk on Friday, but plans have changed due to a lack of astronaut suits in the right size.

"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", reads a statement from NASA. There is only one medium top that can be made ready in time for the next spacewalk on Friday, the agency said, and it will go to Koch.

As for Friday's planned tasks, NASA astronauts Koch and Hague will focus on completing the installation of lithium-ion batteries on the space station's solar arrays. Hague and McClain worked outside, in the vacuum of space, for six hours and 39 minutes on March 22, 2019, to upgrade the International Space Station's power storage capacity.

Astronauts conducting a spacewalk will generally wear atleast two kinds of space suits during their time away from Earth.

The outlet reported that McClain had initially meant to wear a large-sized suit, before deciding she would feel more comfortable in a medium-sized suit during a spacewalk last week. Thus, she'll have the share the suit with Koch, who will wear the medium torso on March 29.

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Hague and McClain operated the first spacewalk out of a series of three on March 22.

But Nasa says the ISS has only one medium-size hard upper torso spacesuit that fits best each of the two women.

Hillary Clinton was one of many people who had been looking forward to the historic mission and took to Twitter to voice disappointment at NASA's announcement, writing "make another suit". That's despite there having been 216 spacewalks since the beginning of the ISS in 1998. Then the measurements are plotted against the size ranges available for each spacesuit component, according to NASA.

"To date, almost 60 American women have flown in space", according to The Atlantic. A man will accompany astronaut Christina H. Koch in her place. Data from the Society of Women Engineers shows that, between 2011 and 2016, there was a whopping 54 percent increase in bachelor's degrees awarded in engineering and computer science to women (with 5.6 percent awarded to women of color).

It's a continuation of the work performed on the first spacewalk, and the battery upgrades are set to be performed over the next couple of years.

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