All-Female Spacewalk Canceled

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The first female spacewalk was planned to be a historic and empowering moment for all females around the world. Anne C. McClain and Christina H. Koch were the two women who were supposed to take on this mission of replacing old batteries in a research laboratory. However, the mission was changed when the correct spacesuit sizes for one of the women weren’t available. The mission itself still occurred, but McClain was replaced by another astronaut Nick Hague. McClain thought she would be able to complete the spacewalk in a large size astronaut suit, but when she performed her first spacewalk the Friday prior, she had learned that the medium size had worked better for herself. Koch also wore a size medium and only one of these suits was available for a spacewalk. Getting the second medium size suit ready for the mission would’ve required lots of labor and switching the astronauts was seen to be the best option.

The NASA spokeswomen Stephanie Schierholz says “When you have the option of just switching the people, the mission becomes more important than a cool milestone.”

Not only were the astronauts female, but the support team also included many women in high ranking positions. Mary Lawerence was the flight director and Jackie Kagey was the lead officer. The all-women aspect of the mission was said to be unplanned. Only during a meeting was it pointed out. An all-women spacewalk was seen more like an inevitability than a plan causing no surprise from officials. Because of the increasing number of women becoming NASA astronauts, it was bound to happen soon. About 32% of astronauts at NASA are women and the number is only increasing.

These missions to bring the batteries to the station aren’t simple and take lots of calculating and planning. The battery system for the station will be worked on for the next few years so there are many missions for the international team to carry out. Although there is no all-women spacewalk planned, hopefully, there will be one in the near future.

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