NASA scraps all-women space walk for lack of well-fitting suits

James Marshall
March 26, 2019

While Koch is still on the schedule to take her first spacewalk on Friday, McClain will stay inside the orbiting lab this time.

Early this month, Nasa announced that Christina Koch and Anne McClain would take part in the first-of-its kind mission on 29 March, walking outside the worldwide space station (ISS) to install new batteries.

Hague and Koch will continue work on a project to upgrade the ISS solar array battery storage system.

Christina Koch will now perform tasks in space Friday with fellow American Nick Hague - instead of Anne McClain as originally planned.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch, two NASA astronauts with Expedition 59, had been scheduled to operate the spacewalk, but mission managers made a decision to switch so that Koch and NASA astronaut Nick Hague could operate the assignment.

With the first in a series of three spacewalks successfully completed at the International Space Station, NASA has updated astronaut assignments for the remaining two spacewalks and will preview the third in an upcoming news conference on NASA Television and the agencys website. They will swap out old nickel-hydrogen batteries with more powerful lithium-ion batteries. McClain had "learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso - essentially the shirt of the spacesuit - fits her best".

She said two upper parts in each of the three available spacesuit sizes are now held at the ISS: medium, large and extra large. McClain and Hague worked on swapping out batteries and installing adapter plates.

McClain will be accompanied by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, though the assignments will be finalized after Friday's spacewalk is finished. The second spacewalk will be nearly identical to last week's spacewalk, only the astronauts will be replacing a separate batch of batteries. The actual spacewalk is expected to begin around 5:20 a.m. PT and will last about 6.5 hours.

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