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Nasa’s first all-female spacewalk cancelled due to spacesuit size issue

Astronaut Nick Hague will go instead of Anne McClain following a change of spacesuit size requirements.

Nasa astronaut Christina Koch, centre, assists fellow astronauts Nick Hague, left, and Anne McClain (Nasa/PA)
Nasa astronaut Christina Koch, centre, assists fellow astronauts Nick Hague, left, and Anne McClain (Nasa/PA)

Nasa’s first ever all-female spacewalk will no longer go ahead as planned because of a late change to one of the astronaut’s spacesuit size requirements.

Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were originally due to take part in the historic moment on Friday, but the space agency has announced that male astronaut Nick Hague will now go instead of McClain.

The American space agency said that McClain originally thought a large-sized spacesuit would be fit for purpose, but following a spacewalk last week decided that a medium would be safer.

There is more than one medium size spacesuit torso on board the International Space Station, Nasa explained, but it would not be able to make it available in time.

It was therefore deemed safer and faster to change spacewalker assignments instead of reconfiguring spacesuits.

“We have another medium size spacesuit segment on the station,” Nasa spokeswoman, Stephanie Schierholz, said.

“Anne trained in M and L and thought she could use a large but decided after Friday’s spacewalk a medium fits better. In this case, it’s easier (and faster!) to change spacewalkers than reconfigure the spacesuit.”

To date, spacewalks have all been entirely male-led or a mix of male and females, but never all-female.

Many took to social media to express their disappointment, while others agreed that safety should come first and shared hopes of an all-female spacewalk being rescheduled in the not so distant future.

The space agency has not stated when it will try again to make an all-female spacewalk happen.

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