History was due to be made on March 29th, 2019 as NASA had scheduled the first all-female spacewalk for that date. This would be the first time in decades of human spaceflight that an all-female crew would venture outside the International Space Station for a mission. It was unintentional but historic, nonetheless. However, NASA has had to cancel the all-female spacewalk because of what’s essentially a wardrobe issue.
The all-female composition of this crew was unintentional. NASA said that it recognized the historical significance of astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch going on an all-female mission but pointed out that the spacewalk “was not orchestrated to be this way.” Their mission was to replace the batteries on the outside of the International Space Station this Friday. NASA has now decided that McClain’s place will be taken by astronaut Nick Hague.
NASA says that this decision has been made because of the types of space suits that are available on the ISS. After completing an earlier spacewalk, McClain found out that she’s best suited to wearing a spacesuit that has a “medium-size hard upper torso” instead of a large-sized one.
A spokesperson for NASA said that there are at least two medium-sized spacesuit torsos on the ISS but only one of them is going to be ready for the spacewalk on March 29th. It was thus decided that Koch and Hague will wear suits that are already prepared instead of reconfiguring the suits before Friday as it can be quite a labor-intensive job.