Nasa's first all-female spacewalk scrapped over spacesuit sizes


Nasa astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Anne McClain at the International Space Station. Photo: 22 March 2019Image copyright
NASA

Image caption

Christina Koch (left) will on Friday wear the spacesuit used by Anne McClain (right) during her last week’s spacewalk

A planned first all-female spacewalk has been cancelled because of spacesuit issues, US space agency Nasa says.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch had been scheduled to install lithium-ion batteries at the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.

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

Ms Koch will now conduct Friday’s spacewalk with her male colleague Nick Hague, the space agency says.

“Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, 29 March, Koch will wear it,” Nasa said in a statement.

Ms McClain realised that the medium-size spacesuit suited her best when she worked outside the station on 22 March.

The spacesuits available at the ISS are in fact assemblies of several parts put together as best adapted to each astronaut’s body, Brandi Dean, spokeswoman of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

She added that sizes were medium, large and extra large.

So far only male or mixed male-female teams have conducted spacewalks.



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