“Make Another Suit,” Clinton Tells NASA After Scrapped All-Female Spacewalk
And why it's not that simple.
When news broke that that all-female space walk was canceled, former First Lady and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took to Twitter with a suggestion for NASA.
Make another suit. https://t.co/mu9w13xsi0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 26, 2019
“Make another suit.” Clinton’s tweet said, but it’s not that simple.
Anna McClain, the female astronaut who was set float through space with Christina Koch during a spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS), made the call, not NASA.
“This decision was based on my recommendation,” McClain said in a tweet. “Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgment. We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated. Safety of the crew and execution of the mission come first.”
It takes about 12 hours to prepare a suit for a spacewalk, 12 hours that McClain and the rest of her team weren’t willing to give up as their schedule is jam-packed with important scientific work. So, it wasn’t that there wasn’t a suit available, it just took too much time to prep it for use.
McClain went on a spacewalk last week in a large-sized suit and felt uncomfortable enough to acknowledge that a change needed to be made. During training on Earth and on the ISS she had worn both medium and large size suits, but once she was in space for a while, she says, she grew two inches (astronauts often gain a few inches as it’s normal for their spine to relax and elongate when Earth’s gravitational pull isn’t tugging on it).
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