NASA cancels all female spacewalk because there aren't enough spacesuits

Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Anne McClain
Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Anne McClain Photo credit: NASA

NASA has cancelled its first all-female spacewalk, because it did not have enough spacesuits to fit the two women.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch were ready to make history on Friday as the first all-female crew to conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS).

McClain and Koch had both completed spacewalks previously, and after consultation with the mission managers, McClain learned she was better suited to a medium size suit.

However, NASA  only provide one medium size suit in time for the walk.  So now, Koch will be accompanied by male colleague Nick Hauge.

NASA tweeted about the change of plans, clarifying they do have more than one medium size spacesuit on board, but that it is safer and faster to change spacewalker assignments than to reconfigure the suits.

Replies to the Tweet indicate people are less than pleased by the change of plans.

"OK but are you going to rectify this issue in the future?" wrote one user

"Because this feels like something y'all should have figured out prior to even announcing there would be an all-female walk. Who dropped the ball?"

Hillary Clinton chimed in to the debate, with the simple contribution of "Make another suit."

Others said NASA made the right choice by putting safety of immediacy.

"This has nothing to do with gender. Their priority is to keep astronauts safe, if it was a man who needed a smaller suit they would have done the same thing,"

"Thank you for not compromising the safety of a human life simply to make history," wrote another woman.

"It sucks but we can make history again some day!"

The astronauts will perform three spacewalks, with McClain and Koch both walking with Hauge.

The walks will take seven hours, and will ensure the ISS is maintained.