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Thursday, March 28, 2019

NASA Cancels First All-women Spacewalk

First all-female spacewalk in history postponed due to availability of spacesuits, (left to right) Christina Hammock Koch and Anne McClain. / Photo: NASA / (Source: MGN)

The first all-women spacewalk has been cancelled. NASA astronaut Nick Hague will take the place of Anne McClain on a spacewalk Friday outside the International Space Station, teaming up with crewmate Christina Koch to continue a series of battery upgrades on an excursion that would have been the first all-female spacewalk in history.

NASA announced Monday that Flight Engineer Nick Hague is joining fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch on this Friday’s spacewalk. The duo will continue swapping old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the station’ Port-4 truss structure. Hague and astronaut Anne McClain performed the exact same work last week on the other side of the truss structure.

Hague is swapping places with McClain this Friday due to a spacesuit-sizing issue.

“Koch had been scheduled to conduct this spacewalk with astronaut McClain,” NASA said in a statement Monday. “However, after consulting with McClain and Hague following the first spacewalk, mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station.

“McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso – essentially the shirt of the spacesuit – fits her best,” the statement said. “Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it.”

McClain is tentatively planned to go outside on an April 8 spacewalk with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. The spacewalkers will install truss jumpers to provide secondary power to the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

McClain and Hague successfully installed new lithium-ion batteries during a spacewalk on March 22. Ground teams checked out the power channel immediately after the spacewalk with no issues. Over the weekend, attempts to recharge one of the batteries were unsuccessful. Engineers on the ground are continuing to identify the cause of the issue and explore possible solutions. There has been no impact to standard space station operations.

Source: NASA


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