'That’s embarrassing': NASA cancels first all-female spacewalk because there weren’t enough spacesuits that fit
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were preparing to embark on what was meant to be one giant leap for womankind — but the historic spacewalk was canceled because NASA didn’t have enough properly fitting spacesuits.
NASA released a statement on Monday that the first all-female spacewalk would not be taking place Friday as scheduled “due in part to spacesuit availability on the station.” Astronauts McClain and Koch both need a medium-size hard upper torso piece, which is essentially the shirt of the spacesuit, but only one was available.
“Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it,” the statement said. Now, Astronaut Nick Hague will be joining Koch in what would have been the first female-only mission.
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo’s newsletter.
People online are baffled at the news, criticizing NASA for overlooking a crucial detail of the highly-anticipated event.
“They didn’t try the suits BEFORE they left for space?” one Twitter user asked. “Come on now NASA!”
Someone else joked, “Going on a space vacation and forgot to pack appropriately. Funny.”
Rocket starts to fire up
*let's see… got me keys, credit cards… still feels like I'm forgetting something for this trip…
— Jeffery J (@jeffery_jrosk) March 26, 2019
Meanwhile, another person pointed out that the shortage of equipment made for women is a recurring issue — this happens with women on earth with bulletproof vests as well, adding that not having the proper-fitting gear is dangerous. “They don’t make them to fit a woman’s body, which puts women in danger while doing their jobs,” the person wrote on Twitter. “A woman can’t always just wear a smaller men’s size. Our bodies are shaped differently.”
Others online found it hard to believe that NASA didn’t have the staff available to make spacesuits for women. “IF Star Trek can have suits that fit: you guys need to catch up and hire people that know how to make clothes!!!” wrote one user. “And don’t forget that Lady Star Explorers might like to enjoy a cup of recognition once in a while.”
— Mary (@MotherMary08) March 26, 2019
we can go to the moon and do a spacewalk but can't get enough spacesuits that fit???? this is a joke
— Clarisa Rachel ✨ (@clarisarchel) March 26, 2019
I thought this was an @TheOnion headline. Jeesh.
— Cira (@NordicSunGod) March 26, 2019
"Sorry folks, going to have to leave all the women and children here on Earth. No space suits that fit." 😒
— Runihara Khan (@runihara9280) March 26, 2019
Yeah because we’ve only had women astronauts for *checking my calendar* thirty years. Sounds legit.
— Featherty (@featherty) March 26, 2019
Make another suit. https://t.co/mu9w13xsi0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 26, 2019
As people online urged NASA to hire individuals to make spacesuits for women, one even suggested that designer Christian Siriano be tapped to get the job done, considering he’s known for his inclusive approach to fashion.
Plz call Christian Siriano. https://t.co/q3XwsjJsyW
— Shantira Jackson (@tira_son) March 26, 2019
However, fitting a spacesuit for women is more complicated than it seems, according to a NASA spokeswoman.
“We do our best to anticipate the spacesuit sizes that each astronaut will need, based on the spacesuit size they wore in training on the ground, and in some cases (including Anne McClain’s) astronauts train in multiple sizes,” Brandi Dean, NASA’s public affairs officer, tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an email. “However, individuals’ sizing needs may change when they are on orbit, in response to the changes living in microgravity can bring about in a body. In addition, no one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space.”
NASA came across the issue following McClain’s first spacewalk with Hague on Mar. 22 when she discovered the medium top “was a better fit for her in space,” according to Dean. “We currently have two medium hard upper torsos on the space station, but only one is in a readily usable configuration.”
𝘈 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦… pic.twitter.com/2fDXJX94wa
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 25, 2019
The historic all-female spacewalk is delayed indefinitely. NASA has tentatively scheduled McClain to perform another spacewalk on April 8 with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.
Although the all-female spacewalk will not be taking place as planned, McClain and Koch will both be going down in history as the 13th and 14th women to perform spacewalks.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Woman meets good Samaritan who returned $10,000 she lost on subway
Single mom, 49, prevents car from being stolen in viral video: ‘I just had to do what I had to do’
Video shows police officers trying to wrestle 1-year-old from mom’s arms
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.