Nasa’s plans for the first all-female spacewalk have fallen through – at least in part because the agency doesn’t have enough spacesuits that fit the astronauts.
What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble after Nasa said on Monday night that they will only have access to one correctly sized spacesuit top by Friday when the walk was scheduled.
One of the two women on the mission, Anne McClain, will now have to give up her place to a male colleague.
She thought a large-sized suit would be fine but after a spacewalk last week found that the medium-sized was a better fit and would be the most appropriate suit to wear to venture back outside the International Space Station.
“Anne trained in ‘M’ and ‘L’ and thought she could use a large but decided after [last] Friday’s spacewalk a medium fits better,” a Nasa spokeswoman, Stephanie Schierholz, announced on Monday.
“In this case, it’s easier (and faster!) to change space-walkers than reconfigure the spacesuit.”
The news was met with disappointment and some anger by many following the much-anticipated mission on social media, with some arguing an all-female spacewalk was overdue.
Others said they were sad that a milestone moment on women’s space exploration had been deferred, but safety came first.