NASA responds to outrage over spacesuit issue on ISS

The two NASA astronauts, who were supposed to perform the first all-female spacewalk last week but which was cancelled due to a lack of the right-sized spacesuit on the ISS, say it was just a matter of greater efficiency, the media reported.

Astronaut Christina Koch along with Anne McClain had to take a spacewalk on March 29 to work on a second set of battery replacements on a power channel on the International Space Station (ISS).

However, NASA decided to change the assignments “due in part to spacesuit availability on the station”, the US agency had said in a statement.

Instead, Koch took the spacewalk along with astronaut Nick Hague.

“That was actually based on my recommendation,” astronaut Anne McClain told “Today” hosts on Monday morning from the ISS, the FoxNews reported on Wednesday.

“I think, as the lead for the US segment up here on the Space Station, we are always looking at ways to make our team and our job execution the most efficient that we possibly can,” she added.

McClain tweeted: “This decision was based on my recommendation. Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgement.

“We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated. Safety of the crew and execution of the mission comes first.”

However, the spacesuit issue stalling the all-woman spacewalk created quite a furore in social media that cited it as the perfect example of challenges women still need to confront at the workplace.

“We kind of just shuffled the crews around. There were no spacewalks that were cancelled. These guys went out the doors Friday. I’m going out the door again next week and we’re certainly looking forward to that,” McClain said.

“The spacesuit is bulky, no matter whats your size,” Koch noted, adding “It’s very important to have a great fit and we’re lucky that we can all get out there and kind of push through those challenges.”

IANS