NASA cancels first all-female spacewalk over ill-fitting spacesuit

Anushka Sharma is the Co Founder of the London Space Network

Washington, D.C: National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) is facing the accusation of propagating sexism after it cancelled first women space walk.

There are now six spacesuits on board, including two in medium size, according to Stephanie Schierholz, spokesperson for NASA spaceflight.

"On the International Space Station, there are just four spacesuits available out of a total of just 11 spacesuits that NASA has in total for the ISS", said spacesuit expert Pablo de Leon.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is pictured during her first spacewalk on March 22.

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".

Koch and Hague will continue the battery-swapping work that McClain and Hague began last Friday outside the space station. It takes time to properly prep a spacesuit and only one medium suit was ready to go, so Koch will wear it on Friday.

"Anne trained in M and L and thought she could use a large but decided after Friday's spacewalk a medium fits better", wrote spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz on Twitter.

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"No one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space", she said.

"It is not unusual to change spacewalk assignments as lessons are learned during operations in space".

"This decision was based on my recommendation", McClain tweeted today (March 27). "We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated", McClain tweeted.

Others said they were sad that a milestone moment for women's space exploration had been deferred, but safety came first. As women continue to make up a greater percentage of the astronaut corps, more gender records will be set and not just in spacewalking, Dean noted.

Apparently there is actually a practical reason for this, highlighting the lack of funding NASA has for making new suits. But it's not that simple. "Good job, NASA!" In fact, one might even say, if one were so inclined, that the move was one small step for female astronauts in NASA, and one giant leap for womankind. This is partly due to the effects of microgravity, or weightlessness. In space these suits can only be worn in the shuttle.

According to the NASA website, "donning" a spacesuit isn't as easy as it seems. And, in a nutshell, it all has to do with astronauts growing in size while in orbit. Evidently, NASA only carries sizes for men. It's obviously a bummer for McClain, but nobody wants to be floating around in space in a suit that doesn't fit.

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