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NASA nixes 1st all-female spacewalk over lack of well-fitting spacesuits

NASA nixes 1st all-female spacewalk over lack of well-fitting spacesuits

The US space agency NASA scrapped Monday a planned historic spacewalk by two women astronauts, citing a lack of available spacesuits that would fit them at the International Space Station.

In a change of plans, NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch will instead set out Friday to upgrade batteries attached to solar panels on the ISS.

"Mission managers chose to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station", NASA said in a statement. However, after McClain's first spacewalk last week, she realized a different-sized spacesuit would fit her better.

There is more than one medium-size spacesuit torso on board the ISS, Nasa explained, but it would not be able to make it available in time for Friday.

For time spent outside, astronauts wear an EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) spacesuit, created to work as a personal spacecraft for the person inside it.

On the other hand, NASA has denied the accusation of sexism by saying it's easier to change spacewalkers than adjust a spacesuit.

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"Anne trained in M and L and thought she could use a large but decided after Friday's spacewalk a medium fits better", wrote spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz on Twitter.

In response to some of these accusations, NASA released on Thursday a document showing how the entire spacesuit thing works in orbit.

The agency adds that an all-female spacewalk is inevitable, as the number of female astronauts keeps growing.

NASA has nixed the first all-female spacewalk over a spacesuit sizing issue. If a suit is too big, an astronaut in space might feel like they're floating around inside of it, making them struggle with mobility. For the second spacewalk, NASA was planning to have McClain wear the larger size so that her slightly smaller counterpart could wear the medium.

That's because men have always outnumbered women in space. One of the medium and one of the extra large are spares and need 12 hours to get ready for an EVA.