An ill-fitting spacesuit cancels NASA's first all-female spacewalk

26 March, 2019, 14:52 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • NASA flight engineer Anne Mc Clain looked at a laptop computer screen inside the US Destiny laboratory module of the International Space Station

The first spacewalk of the series was conducted by McClain and Hague last Friday.

The two female astronauts were to swap out batteries on the outside of the International Space Station.

NASA's plan to conduct the first all-female spacewalk this month had to be scrapped after the crew aboard the International Space Station encountered an unexpected setback - the lack of well-fitting spacesuits, the US space agency said.

The work of the first and second spacewalks is to install lithium-ion batteries for one pair of the station's solar arrays, which basically means their solar panels (sidebar: the fact that the International Space Station also uses solar panels is neat as hell). This coming Friday, Koch will become the 14th, while McClain's next space journey is scheduled for April 8.

NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were supposed to take part in the first all-female spacewalk on March 29. What they each need is "essentially the shirt of the spacesuit", a "medium-size hard upper torso".

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The problem is, Koch wears the same size - and only one medium-sized torso component is readily available on the space station. Of course astronauts are measured extensively before their trip, but there is no way to simulate the extended effects of zero gravity on their body and earlier this month McClain tweeted that she's grown by two inches since launch.

McClain will be accompanied by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, though the assignments will be finalized after Friday's spacewalk is finished.

Still, Schierholz said, "We believe an all-female spacewalk is inevitable".

According to Space.com, fitting spacesuits isn't as simple as it sounds, given the body grows taller in microgravity. McClain had trained in both the medium and large sized units, but discovered that the medium size worked better for her.

If you would like to watch what is now a not very historic spacewalk on Friday, it'll be streaming live from approximately 10.30pm AEDT, with the walk scheduled to begin after midnight HERE.

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