NASA cancels all-female spacewalk due to lack of correctly sized spacesuits

Image credit: NASA on Unsplash (Image credit: NASA)

Poorly fitting spacesuits have forced NASA to cancel its first attempt at an all-female spacewalk.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were due to walk around the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) on March 29, but in a press release, the space agency announced that it had changed its plans "due in part to spacesuit availability on the station".

The problem involves the top part of the spacesuit. "McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso – essentially the shirt of the spacesuit – fits her best," NASA said. "Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it."

Astronaut Nick Hague will take McClain's place, and join Koch replacing batteries on the space station's solar arrays.

Growing pains

It might seem like a strange oversight, but as explains, fitting for spacesuits can be tricky due to the effects of microgravity. Astronauts' spines aren't compressed as they would be on Earth, which means they essentially become taller after some time in space.

It's not clear whether this was the reason for the lack of suitable equipment on the ISS, but this month McCain tweeted that she is now two inches taller than when she left Earth in December.

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Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)