The space agency announced on March 25 that its plans had changed, “in part” due to a shortage of outerwear.
After announcing a historic first all-female spacewalk, NASA is now saying that it is swapping one of the women’s spots for a male astronaut because there were not enough space suits available to fit both women.
Christina Koch and Anne McClain had been scheduled to step outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday to install batteries.
However, it turned out that both women needed a medium-size spacesuit and only one was available for use. Koch will now exit the ISS with male colleague Nick Hague instead.
She will wear the medium-size suit used by McClain on a spacewalk with Hague last week.
"Koch had been scheduled to conduct this spacewalk with astronaut McClain, in what would have been the first all-female spacewalk," NASA revealed in a press release.
"However, after consulting with McClain and Hague following the first spacewalk, mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station. McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso – essentially the shirt of the spacesuit – fits her best.
"Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it."
McClain now is tentatively scheduled to perform her next spacewalk – the third in this series – on Monday, April 8 with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.
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