NASA Cancels Its Historical All-Women Spacewalk Due to Shortage of Spacesuits

On Monday, NASA announced that it would not conduct an all-woman spacewalk due to eleventh-hour crew swap. So NASA changed its plans for the historic spacewalk. Recently, last month, the space agency declared the first all-female spacewalk. But the mission canceled due to a shortage of customized and perfectly fitting spacesuits. Now, the task will have a male astronaut aboard instead of a woman. In the beginning, two NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were scheduled to perform a spacewalk. During the walk, both were supposed to swap out batteries on the exterior of the International Space Station. They will replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new and more powerful lithium-ion batteries.

NASA announced that astronaut Nick Hague would secure the position of McClain. While during the upcoming spacewalk (on March 29), McClain will remain inside the ISS. In last week, on Friday, McClain and Hauge performed a successful spacewalk. After the event, McClain realized that she is comfortable in a suit with a medium-size hard upper torso than that of a large-size one. According to a NASA representative, they have a minimum of two medium-size hard upper torso available on the International Space Station. But only one of them will be available for the upcoming spacewalk. It is essential to add arms and legs segments to the medium-sized torso, which can be a lengthy process. Thus the space agency decided to assign Koch and Hauge to resolve the problem. The move will avoid the need to reconfigure the spacesuits before Friday.

The battery upgrades take place after a couple of years whenever new hardware arrives at the orbiting space laboratory. Still, McClain will step out on another spacewalk, but it’s going to take place on April 8. On the day, the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut David Saint-Jacques will perform the spacewalk with her. It will be McClain’s second spacewalk, and third among NASA’s series. Although, the upcoming spacewalk will be the second in a series of three as per the space agency’s schedule. According to NASA, the spacewalk will last about six and a half hours.

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Stefen Marawa

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