News & Opinion | March 26, 2019 11:15 am

NASA Shut Down All-Female Space Walk

One of the two women will be replaced by a male colleague due to a lack of gear in her size.

NASA cancels all-female spacewalk
NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch. (Photo by STR / POOL / AFP) (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

One small step for women turned into a giant leap backward after NASA cancelled plans for the first all-female spacewalk.

NASA announced the decision on Monday, and said a shortage of properly-sized outerwear was to blame. According to The Guardian, Anne McClain, one of the two women on the mission scheduled for Friday, will be replaced by a male colleague due to a lack of gear in her size.

The outlet reported that McClain had initially intended to wear a large-sized suit, before deciding she would feel more comfortable in a medium-sized suit during a spacewalk last week. In a press release announcing the change of the plans on Monday, NASA said there would not be enough time to accommodate the necessary size change.

“Anne trained in ‘M’ and ‘L’ and thought she could use a large but decided after [last] Friday’s spacewalk a medium fits better,” announced NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz on Monday.

“In this case, it’s easier (and faster!) to change space-walkers than reconfigure the spacesuit,” she explained.

NASA first generated buzz after announcing the mission earlier this month. McClain and Christian Koch were to make history walking outside the International Space Station to install new batteries. All previous missions have been all-male or male-female.

McClain’s spacewalk is now “tentatively scheduled” for April 8, according to The Guardian. The upcoming mission will not be all-female.