NASA First All-Women Spacewalk Isn’t Scrapped Yet

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NASA's new space mission just got more interesting as it could be the first spacewalk to be conducted entirely by women. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are currently at the International Space Station (ISS) and are scheduled to spacewalk together on October 21, which will be the first time two women would do a spacewalk together.

NASA First All-Women Spacewalk Isn’t Scrapped Yet

 

NASA Women Astronauts Spacewalk

The spacewalk that NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir plan to do will be part of a series of 10 spacewalks scheduled to take place over the next three months. NASA had originally planned to have the first all-female spacewalk back in March this year. However, NASA couldn't execute the mission due to the lack of properly fitting spacesuits.

Spacesuit Woes Of Women Astronauts

Back in March, Koch was supposed to spacewalk with her fellow astronaut Anne McClain. However, both women needed a medium-sized hard upper torso (HUT), the part of the spacesuit shaped like a T-shirt. But back then, only one of the suits was readily available at the ISS. McClain had planned to wear a large size, but then decided that medium was a better fit for her.

Unfortunately, there was only a spare medium-sized HUT on board. And building McClain another suit would have taken too long. So back in March, another crew member who fit in large-sized spacesuit did the spacewalk instead of her.

NASA First All-Women Spacewalk Isn’t Scrapped Yet

 

NASA All-Women Team For Spacewalk

If we take a look at our space exploration history, it's largely been dominated by male astronauts. Take for instance the International Space Station. The construction of the ISS involved many astronauts and cosmonauts and more than 200 spacewalks. However, only 15 women have ever been on a spacewalk. And they have always been accompanied by men. But things are changing now. For instance, the 2013 graduating batch from NASA had 50 percent female graduates. And now, NASA is prepping up an all-female team for a spacewalk.

For the upcoming spacewalk, Jessica Meir will also require a medium HUT for her spacesuit. And NASA is ready this time as the space agency has plenty of time to prep up the spacesuit. NASA's ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman said that the agency plans to launch "a lot of medium-suit people" to the space station over the next couple of years, so that HUT will be put to good use.

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