NASA cancels all-female space walk

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A statement released today says NASA is ‘adjusting assignments’, in part, because they don’t have the appropriate gear for both female astronauts.

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NASA has postponed an upcoming all-female space walk, citing a lack of spacesuits for its female astronauts.

In a statement, the space agency said "mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station."

nasa cancels
A tweet from NASA announcing the changes.
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Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were scheduled to take part in the first ever all-female space walk this Friday, 29 March. The pair would have continued work installing lithium-ion batteries to outer parts of the International Space Station.

NASA says that McClain's decision to switch space suits to a 'medium-size hard upper torso' - basically where a t-shirt fits - meant there wouldn't be enough suits for both astronauts.

"Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it." the agency said.

Speaking earlier this month, a NASA spokesperson said the history-making pairing had been purely coincidental.

"It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall," they told CNN.

Koch will now complete Friday's walk with fellow American Nick Hague. McClain has been rescheduled for a third spacewalk for early April.

Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space back in 1984. Since then, there have been more than 200 space walks at the International Space Station.

Of the roughly 500 people that have been to space, less than 11 per cent have been women.

With her first space walk earlier this month, McCain became just the thirteenth woman to complete the endeavour. As of Friday, Koch will become the fourteenth.

NASA will broadcast the walks live this Friday from 10:30pm AEDT. It's expected the walk will take some 7 hours.

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