NASA scraps all-female spacewalk over suit sizing dilemma

NASA is no longer conducting its first all-female spacewalk around the International Space Station this Friday, because there are not enough spacesuits available to fit the female astronauts.

The walk will still take place, however now it will be a mix-gendered event, between astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch. The walk was initially scheduled to be undertaken by Anne McClain and Koch.

The agency said in a statement that it decided to adjust its assignments “in part” due to “spacesuit availability at the station.”

“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,” NASA said.

There are no differences between male and female spacesuits, except, generally, for size.

The all-female walk was intended to mark the conclusion of Women’s History Month.

Hague and McClain completed the initial spacewalk earlier this month.

The next spacewalk is tentatively scheduled for April 8 – although at this time it is also expected to be mix-gendered.


Koch will become the 14th woman to perform a spacewalk on Friday, according to the agency. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in electrical engineering and physics and a Master's Degree in electrical engineering. She was selected as an astronaut for NASA in 2013.

McClain also became a NASA astronaut in 2013. She was commissioned as an Army officer in 2002 and also served as a Senior Army Aviator.