Anne McClain and Christina Koch no longer taking first-female spacewalk

Enlarge ImageNASA astronauts Christina Koch Anne Mc Clain and Nick Hague make up half the current ISS crew.                  NASA

Enlarge ImageNASA astronauts Christina Koch Anne Mc Clain and Nick Hague make up half the current ISS crew. NASA

It was during that mission, NASA said, that McClain discovered "a medium-size hard upper torso - essentially the shirt of the spacesuit - fits her best".

When McClain completed a successful spacewalk March 22, she realized that a suit with a "medium-size upper torso" fits her best, according to the statement.

The third and final spacewalk for Expedition 59 is now scheduled on April 8, for Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques to upgrade the Canadarm2 with a redundant power cables, as well as upgrading the wireless communications coverage for the outside of the station. Among those factors were delays in the spacewalk caused by changes in crew assignments and schedules after the aborted Soyuz MS-10 launch last October.

Marking the 215th ISS spacewalk, Koch and Hague will venture into the cosmos on Friday to install lithium-ion batteries for two of the station's solar arrays.

"To date, almost 60 American women have flown in space", according to The Atlantic.

Both spacewalks will still be broadcast by NASA.

McClain and Koch will both be making history during this mission by being the 13th and 14th women to perform a spacewalk.

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By mission's end, McClain and Koch will be the thirteenth and fourteenth women to walk in space.

NASA's decision to cancel the all-female spacewalk provoked some backlash on social media, with some critics wondering if the agency was being risky in having women astronauts to do their "job in equipment that was built to accommodate men's bodies".

Koch had been scheduled to conduct this spacewalk with astronaut McClain, in what would have been the first all-female spacewalk. This coming Friday, Koch will become the 14th, while McClain's next space journey is scheduled for April 8.

She added that sizes were medium, large and extra large. Just four years after the record-breaking class of 50 percent women, five of the 11 members of the 2017 astronaut candidate class still in training are women as well. Until now, male-only or mixed male-female teams had conducted spacewalks since the space station was assembled in 1998 - 214 spacewalks until now.

There are six US spacesuit tops on the station - or hard upper torsos, as NASA calls them - with two considered spares. However, this change means the first all-female spacewalk will not occur on March 29.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

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