The First All-Female Spacewalk Was Canceled Because NASA's Spacesuits Aren't Made for Women

Astronauts Anne C. McClain and Christina H. Koch were planning to complete the first all-female spacewalk on March 29, 2019. However, NASA has been forced to replace McClain with a male colleague because there are no spacesuits available that fit her, thus canceling the all-female mission.

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(Image credit: NASA)

On March 29, 2019, Anne C. McClain and Christina H. Koch were going to be the first astronauts to complete an all-female space mission. Now, NASA is being forced to replace McClain with her male colleague Nick Hague because it doesn't have enough spacesuits available to fit both women.

According to The New York Times, McClain and Koch—both part of the 2013 astronaut class—needed a medium-size torso component in the spacesuit, but NASA only has one available. With less than a week before the mission, it would be impossible to create an entirely new spacesuit. McClain apparently thought she would be able to fit into a large-size torso, but this still doesn't take away from the fact that NASA didn't have more sizes readily available.

McClain completed her first spacewalk last week, which is likely why she'll stay behind on this trip. Koch and Hague will "venture outside of the space station on a six-hour mission to install massive lithium-ion batteries that will help to power the research laboratory," per the NY Times.

The news is disappointing, to say the least. Hopefully this will be a lesson for NASA and every other organization to provide women with the resources they need to do their jobs.

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Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.