NASA astronauts scheduled for an exclusively female spacewalk respond to outrage over space suit availability

The two astronauts who were supposed to make the first spacewalk exclusively for women, who had slipped out last week due to the shortage of space suits of the right size, have talked about the altered plans saying it was just a matter of efficiency.

"That was based on my recommendation," astronaut Anne McClain told hosts "Today" Monday morning from the International Space Station.

"I think that, as a leader of the US segment here on the Space Station, we are always looking for ways to make our team and the execution of our work as efficient as possible," he added.


McClain and Christina Koch, two NASA astronauts with Expedition 59, were scheduled to operate the spacewalk on March 29, but there were not enough spacesuits of the right size ready in time.

Instead, Koch and NASA astronaut Nick Hague operated the task, said a press release from NASA.

McClain continued: "We just shuffled the crews." There were no spacewalks that were canceled. These guys left the doors on Friday. I'll go out the door next week and we certainly expect that. "

"The space suit is bulky, no matter what its size," said Koch. "It is very important to have a good fit and we are lucky that we can all go out and face those challenges."

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Hague and McClain operated the first spacewalk of a series of three on March 22.

They began installing lithium-ion batteries for a pair of solar panels on the International Space Station, according to NASA.

While McClain was at home, which was also his first spacewalk, he discovered that the "shirt" that best suited the space suit was medium-sized.

However, there was only one medium-sized hard top torso on the space station that was ready in time for the March 29 spacewalk, so Koch used it. It was his first spacewalk.

From now on, McClain will make his second spacewalk on April 8 for the third of the series, and will be accompanied by the astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency David Saint-Jacques.

Initially, Hague and Saint-Jacques were scheduled to make the spacewalk on April 8 together.

Spacewalks, also called extravehicular activity (EVA), generally last between five and eight hours and are performed so that astronauts can repair the equipment or perform experiments. The next spacewalk is expected to last approximately six and a half hours.

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