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To By David Freeman
NASA has decided at the last minute to take back what was historically All-Female Spacewalk sparked a quick and sardonic reaction in social media and highlighted a problem that has long plagued the space agency: it does not have enough spacesuits.
Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were scheduled to venture out together on Friday outside the International Space Station to exchange some batteries. However, NASA announced that after consulting with McClain, the mission managers had decided to postpone the orders "in part because of the availability of space suits on the station".
McClain learned on a previous spacewalk that a medium-sized "hard torso" ̵
The decision prompted an immediate reaction on Twitter, and some saw the cancellation as evidence that women are still not full participants in the space program, more than three decades after Sally Ride first won the US World Cup in space.
" NASA = No spacesuits available ," said archeologist Sarah Parcak in a tweet.
" We put a man on the moon, but we can …" By Friday I can find a space suit that suits a woman, "tweeted Arianna Huffington.
Hillary Clinton tweeted simply: " Make another Suit ."
Beyond the Question of Possible Sexism Within The Space Program, the canceled walk illustrated NASA's lack of space suits – a problem in a general inspector Report of 2017 has been described in detail.
"On the International Space Station, only four out of a total of only space suits are available. 11 s Paceso, which NASA has in total for the ISS," said Pablo de Leon, space suit expert, professor of space Space research at the University of North Dakota. "This is due to the fact that the spacesuits that are now in use are the same ones used during the space shuttle program [NASA] NASA Space Shuttle flew for the first time in 1981 and retired in 2011 – and de Leon said the suits were designed in the late 1970s.
The agency had planned to carry new space suits for astronauts on spacewalks from the space station, but according to de Leon, no funds were allocated.
The suits are far more than airtight overalls with helmets and gloves. They have been described as miniature spaceships that allow astronauts to move comfortably and protect them from extreme temperatures and airless vacuum in space.
They weigh more than 150 kilograms per person, de Leon said. and their costs are as astronomical as the environment in which they are carried. "If you could award any lawsuit, it's $ 22 million," he said.
The development and production of additional suits for the space station would take several years, he added. The station itself is likely to retire in 2024.
McClain is scheduled for a spacewalk on April 8 with the astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency, David Saint-Jacques.
NASA has not identified the other factors that contributed to the decision to change the spacewalk schedule and not to respond to an email requesting timely information to be included in this article ,
Retired NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who is now a professor of engineering at Texas A & M University, said in an e-mail that NASA "got through all the public announcements about the two-woman EVA in one Corner painted "or extravehicular activities. He said the agency "probably would have had to delay the spacewalk" to prepare the other lawsuit.
"Obviously, the work had priority over the achievement of a two-woman EVA, and now NASA has to bear the public counterweight instead of the enthusiasm you were hoping for," he said. "A shame."
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