"Anne McClain in front of the Soyuz spacecraft mockup" by NASA / Public Domain

Why NASA’s historic all-female spacewalk isn’t happening

Mar 27, 2019

By Lindsey Bever, Kayla Epstein, and Allyson Chiu

NASA has aborted its first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station because there are not enough spacesuits of the best size to fit both female astronauts, the agency said.

Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch had planned to conclude Women’s History Month with a spacewalk Friday to continue work outside the space station.

But NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz said in an email Tuesday to The Washington Post that both women need a medium-size hard upper torso — the shirt of the spacesuit — and there is only one medium-size suit on the space station that is ready for use. NASA said astronauts Nick Hague and McClain completed the first spacewalk in the series earlier this month, so Hague and Koch plan to set out on the next one later this week.

Still, Schierholz said, “We believe an all-female spacewalk is inevitable.”

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