MELBOURNE, Fla. – What was intended to be a historic occasion for NASA and humankind, the first all-female spacewalk, has been scuttled because of a lack of spacesuits on the International Space Station. The spacewalk, scheduled to take place Friday, will now be conducted by a man and a woman – NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch.
American astronaut Anne McClain, who was supposed to conduct the spacewalk with Koch, is now tentatively scheduled to perform her second spacewalk with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques on April 8.
Why the change-up? Quite simply, there's only one spacesuit that best fits both female astronauts.
"McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso – essentially the shirt of the spacesuit – fits her best," NASA announced Monday. "Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it."
This Friday will mark the second in a series of three spacewalks for the Expedition 59 crew. The first spacewalk, conducted by Hague and McClain on last Friday, set out to install lithium-ion batteries for one pair of the station's solar arrays. Now, Hague and Koch will finish replacing the old nickel-hydrogen batteries with the advanced lithium-ion batteries during the second spacewalk.
Friday's spacewalk is scheduled to start at 8:20 a.m. EDT, but live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. on NASA TV. This will be the 215th spacewalk for the space station and if everything goes accordingly, Koch will be the 14th woman to perform a spacewalk.
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Historic all-female spacewalk canceled because there weren't enough medium-sized spacesuits