Friday 18 October 2019

All-female spacewalk's wardrobe malfunction

Nasa astronaut Christina Koch, centre, assists fellow astronauts Nick Hague, left, and Anne McClain. Photo: PA
Nasa astronaut Christina Koch, centre, assists fellow astronauts Nick Hague, left, and Anne McClain. Photo: PA

Sonia Elks

What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble on the path to equality after US space agency Nasa cancelled the first all-female spacewalk due to the lack of a spacesuit in the right size.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch had been due to step into history books in a spacewalk on Friday, during the final week of Women's History Month.

But McClain will now give up her place on the mission to male colleague Nick Hague.

"Mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station," Nasa said.

"McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, Koch will wear it."

Nearly 60 years after the first human blasted into space, fewer than 11pc of the 500-plus people who have travelled to space have been women, and spacewalk teams have either been all-male or male-female.

Irish Independent

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