NASA just pulled the biggest “I have nothing to wear, so I’m not going” stunt ever. Why? Because they cancelled their all-women spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) this week. The reason? Because they had limited spacesuits sizes for astronauts participating in the spacewalk.
Announced earlier this month, this spacewalk was going to make history as the first-ever spacewalk conducted by women only. Astronauts, Anne McClain and Christina Koch, were scheduled to swap out batteries on the ISS tomorrow (Friday, March 29, 2019).
Both women wear a medium-sized “hard upper torso,” which is the part of the suit that covers the chest. However, apparently there is only one of those available on the space station. So, the history in the making assignment was cancelled.
This cancellation caused an immediate reaction on social media. It showed proof that even three decades after Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, women still don’t have a full presence in the space program. Many took to twitter to show their aggravation.
While this last-minute decision brings up issues of sexism within the space program, this cancellation also brings up one of NASA’s biggest problems, a shortage of spacesuits. I mean, the suits being worn are from the 1980s. So, designing and creating additional suits for the space station could take several years.
McClain has been switched out with fellow American, Nick Hague for Friday’s mission and is now tentatively scheduled to perform a spacewalk with Canadian astronaut, David Saint-Jacques on April 8.
What are your thoughts on the cancellation?