Enlarge / NASA astronaut Anne McClain needs to use a smaller spacesuit. (credit: NASA)
NASA announced on Monday afternoon that it had canceled a plan to have astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch perform the agency's first all-female spacewalk on Friday. The decision follows McClain's first spacewalk outside the International Space Station, which occurred last Friday, March 22.
"Mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station," the space agency said. "McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso—essentially the shirt of the spacesuit—fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it."
Astronaut Nick Hague will suit up along with Koch this Friday to replace a set of batteries outside the station that store solar power for use when the station is in the Earth's shadow. This decision to replace McClain with Hague has raised a number of questions, including some conspiracy theories that NASA is incompetent or misogynistic. Neither of these is true, although the space agency does have a problem with its spacesuit inventory and future procurement plans. Let's dig into some of the questions raised here.
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