NASA responds to criticism over canceling all-female spacewalk

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NASA responded to criticism Tuesday over canceling what would have been its first all-female spacewalk assignment by citing concerns with safety and speed.

“To clarify, we have more than 1 medium size spacesuit torso aboard, but to stay on schedule with @Space_Station upgrades, it’s safer & faster to change spacewalker assignments than reconfigure spacesuits,” the agency tweeted.

NASA had suggested in a statement on Monday that only one of the correct-size astronaut suits would have been available for Anne McClain and Christina Koch on March 29.

{mosads}”Mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station,” the statement read.

“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.”

The cancellation of the all-female walk was met with criticism on Monday.

Hillary Clinton tweeted that NASA should simply “make another suit” instead of canceling the walk.

“Humanity: Able to land a rover on Mars and communicate with it, or have a probe get close to a comet hurtling through space. Also humanity: Hmm, we don’t seem to have this in your size, Woman Astronaut,” Sirius XM’s DC correspondent Olivier Knox joked on Twitter. 

Tech journalist Abby Beall also wrote an op-ed in the Independent claiming that the cancellation reveals flaws in space technology when it comes to women.

“The root of the problem is this: the Nasa spacesuits are old, and were not made with women in mind,” she wrote. 

Tags Hillary Clinton NASA Space suit spacewalk women astronauts
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