NASA Canceled Its All-Woman Space Walk, Because of a Wrong-Sized Spacesuit
Yes, you read that correctly; here's the scoop...
NASA announced it's all-woman spacewalk earlier this year, marking a momentous pointing in history.
It was announced on Monday, March 25th, that what was supposed to be a giant leap for womankind has fallen through.
The reason? Not enough spacesuits.
Yep, read that again, girlfriend.
Now, we can't even begin to understand the complexities of getting literal human beings into space, so we can only judge so much. But, I think it's safe to say we all know a complete fumble when we see one.
The Monday night release noted that the spacesuit top appropriate for Anne McClain, one of the two women scheduled to take flight, would not be available until Friday.
The scheduled date of flight? You guessed it, Friday.
The original suit, size large, was deemed suitable for the mission. Reports have since been released, by multiple covering publications, that a medium-sized suit is more fitting for the mission.
The result? McClain's forfeit of her seat... to a man.
It was reported that once the decision was made to swap out spacesuits for more appropriate size, NASA made the executive choice to swap out space-walkers instead, stating that the process would not only be faster, but easier.
Here's the flip side of this entire ordeal.
McClain herself opted for a different-sized suit, stating that she felt significantly safer and more efficient in the medium spacesuit.
So, while we wish she might have continued on, and NASA would have made necessary adjustments, we can understand and appreciate the need for safety, and a professional's decision in the name of safety. We can also understand now that the fitting of a spacesuit is nothing like fitting a garment...
The intricacies of spacesuit manufacturing are components to science all their own. According to Space.com, it's no easy task.
In space, the human body experiences multiple physical changes including modification in height and weight, all the result of gravity differences. This, among other reasons, surely contributed to the hesitation behind sending McClain into space with an ill-fitted suit.
So, what's next?
With McClain giving up her seat to a man, our all-female spacewalk will have to wait.
McClain, who frequently participates in spacewalks with other NASA colleagues (of both genders) will continue to carve out space for women in space aeronautics, and a space-walk of the all-female variety will eventually occur.
And though McClain won't be present, for what was should have been an iconic moment in female and NASA history, she continues to break records.
Last week, McClain's spacewalk participation dubbed her only the 13th woman to do so. Kristina Koch, McClain's partner for the all-female walk, will now become the 14th on Friday, March 29th.
Additionally, McClain is already scheduled for a walk on April 8th, These numbers, while they're no longer the first of their kind, are instrumental to women's participation exploration.
A statistic, documented by The Guardianin their report on the failed mission, maintains that while 500 human beings have been to space, a minuscule 11 percent of them have been female.
McClain and Koch, however, are members of a new wave. Participants in NASA's 2013 class, they are members of an elite group that was made up 50 percent women.
It is no secret that these women, regardless of their spacesuit malfunction, are blazing trail after trail in every endeavor they pursue in their professional careers.
While we wish Koch and McClain would take flight side-by-side this coming Friday, we tip our hats to their impact not only on womankind, but humanity as we know it.
To read more about McClain and her position on the announcement, follow her on Twitter at: Twitter.com/AstroAnimal
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