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NASA Is Cancelling Its First All-Female Spacewalk Because It’s Only Got One Spacesuit That Will Work

Well, here’s a depressing metaphor to end Women’s History Month on. NASA had announced plans to cap March off with the first all-women spacewalk to provide key maintenance for the International Space Station. It would have been a moment of historic symbolism but it was instead replaced by symbolism of a different kind when the walk had to be canceled because there weren’t enough spacesuits of the right size to fit both female astronauts. [h/t Washington Post]

Two women astronauts named Anne McClain and Christina Koch were scheduled to conduct the spacewalk on Friday but they’ve only got one medium-sized hard upper torso between them, so they can’t actually go together. This means a man, Nick Hague, will take McClain’s place on Friday. Does all this sound a little too on the nose, as metaphors go? Maybe, but we didn’t write the script.

But never fear, all. NASA says “We believe an all-female spacewalk is inevitable.”

That sort of thinking, that equality is just a natural byproduct of the universe and will inevitably bloom from the ground like a plant, hasn’t exactly proven itself to be entirely accurate over the course of the last few millennia. In any case, the inevitability of a spacewalk would feel a lot more certain if NASA had enough spacesuits to accommodate more than one “medium-sized” woman per space station.

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One good piece of news? McClain and Koch were members of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class. That class is fully 50 percent women. Change is coming, ready or — as the case may be — not.

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