NASA has cancelled the first ever all females spacewalk that was scheduled for Friday. Christina Koch and Anne McClain who were all set to attach the lithium-ion batteries could not get the go-ahead signal. And all for a lack of spacesuit!
As per details from NASA there is only one hard upper torso spacesuit ready in medium size and both the ladies favored the medium size. The required medium size spacesuit will be ready to wear by Friday and 29th March will see Christina Koch using it to make her spacewalk. She will be accompanied by her colleague, Nick Hague as per the space agency reports. This will be another addition to the list of mixed or all-male teams to have made the spacewalks.
Ms. McClain had undergone training in both the large and medium size spacesuits; however, it came to her notice after Friday’s spacewalk that she had a better fit with the medium size. There were two hard upper torsos in medium size with NASA but one of them lacked the required configuration for a spacewalk. The ISS refers to this torso as the ‘shirt of the spacesuit’.
The incomplete work would not be ready before the scheduled time of the spacewalk slated for Friday. It was therefore considered best by NASA to shift the astronauts. AFP news agency reported Brandi Dean, the spokeswoman of the Johnson Space Center in Houston explaining the making of a spacesuit at the ISS. She said that they consisted of assemblies of varied parts which were fitted together to suit the size of every astronauts’ body. The spacesuits were available in three sizes; extra-large, large and medium.
She further remarked that the spacesuit sizes were decided based on the size the astronaut wore during their ground training. Sometimes astronauts underwent training in varied sizes. But these sizes could get altered in orbit because of changes wrought on the individual’s body due to a life in microgravity.