NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were originally scheduled to take a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, which would have made them the first all-female spacewalk team in history. Specifically, during McClain's spacewalk with her colleague Nick Hague on March 22, she learned that a medium-size hard upper torso-basically the "shirt" of the suit-fits her best. However, in order for them to walk, they both required a medium-sized spacesuit torso component, of which only one was available at the space station.
They began installing lithium-ion batteries for a pair of solar arrays on the International Space Station, according to the release.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain during her March 22 spacewalk.
The spacewalk was supposed to be led by NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, with the assistance of Kristen Facciol, a Canadian Space Agency flight controller, on the ground in Houston.
The spacesuits are not as a simple task as what we think.More news: Katko joins failed bid to override Trump veto on border emergency
NASA spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz said on Twitter that McClain had trained in both medium and large spacesuits. Thus, she'll have the share the suit with Koch, who will wear the medium torso on March 29. Hague will accompany Koch for the upcoming spacewalk.
Two mediums existed on the ISS, but only one was prepped for a spacewalk. And, while the comfort and safety of the astronauts remains the most important aspect of any space mission, this last-minute reassignment seems to highlight the reality that many women will have to overcome additional career roadblocks working in a world created to accommodate men. That's despite there having been 216 spacewalks since the beginning of the ISS in 1998.
But mere days before the mission, NASA canceled the historic spacewalk for an anti-climactic reason: they didn't have enough spacesuits to fit the astronauts. She later earned master's degrees in aerospace engineering and global relations. However, this change means the first all-female spacewalk will not occur on March 29. "The latest class of NASA astronauts, selected in 2013, includes four women and four men".
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.