The first two-woman spacewalk was cut short Friday due to the lack of a medium-sized space suit- and it’s fueling NASA’s desire to question whether or not some smaller suits are in order.
NASA Astronaut Anne McClain prepared to take her first spacewalk last week, but soon found that she was having difficulty moving around in the large-size space suit, particularly the upper torso.
While two mediums were on board the International Space Station, only one was prepped for a spacewalk, and a male astronaut -Nick Hague- took over the spacewalk with Astronaut Christina Koch.
“When you have the option of just switching the people, the mission becomes more important than a cool milestone,” said NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz.
According to NPR, the “historic” mission wasn’t planned well in advance- in fact, it was only suggested when the two female astronauts happened to be scheduled to be on the USS at the same time.
“It really is the luck of the draw,” Shierholz said.
McClain still got her space walk, and even managed to snap a photo for Twitter.
The lack of smaller space suits has been a long-running issue, and as a result, many female astronauts have not been able to leave the space station.
However, it’s more a matter of logistics than sexism, as a small suit would get much less use than the medium, large and extra-large sizes.
While an all-female spacewalk isn’t going to happen any time soon, Schierholz thinks it’s just a matter of “when,” rather than “if.”
“We’re sort of getting to the point of inevitability,” she wrote.
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