NASA cancels historic all-female spacewalk over lack of spacesuits in proper size

A scheduled all-female spacewalk has been cancelled by NASA because of a lack of spacesuits in the proper size.

NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were supposed to take part in the first all-female spacewalk on March 29. The space agency announced Tuesday, however, that “due in part to spacesuit availability on the station,” the mission assignments had been changed.

Koch will now be partnered with male astronaut, Nick Hague. The pair will be working to install powerful lithium-ion batteries for the International Space Station during their mission. It will be the second spacewalk of a series of three that NASA has planned.

The first spacewalk of the series was conducted by McClain and Hague last Friday. 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.” 

The problem is, Koch wears the same size — and only one medium-sized torso component is readily available on the space station. 

The New York Times, quoting a NASA spokeswoman, reported that there are two medium-sized torsos currently on the ISS but “one has yet to be properly configured for a spacewalk. It would take hours of crew labor — not to mention some additional risk — to fix that in time” for Friday’s mission. 

Brandi Dean of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, told Agence France-Presse that while NASA does its “best to anticipate the spacesuit size that each astronaut will need … individuals’ sizing needs may change when they are on orbit, in response to the changes living in microgravity can bring about in a body.”

Related: NASA launches Parker Solar Probe to ‘touch the sun’ 

20 PHOTOS
NASA launches Parker Solar Probe to 'touch the sun'
See Gallery
NASA launches Parker Solar Probe to 'touch the sun'
CAPE CANAVERAL - AUGUST 8: In this NASA handout, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket payload fairing is seen with the NASA and Parker Solar Probe emblems, August 8, 2018 at Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe will travel through the Suns atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL - AUGUST 10: In this NASA handout, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, left, American solar astrophysicist, and professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, Eugene Parker, center, and President and Chief Executive Officer for United Launch Alliance Tony Bruno pose for a group photo in front of the ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Parker Solar onboard, at Launch Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 10, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This is the first NASA mission that has been named for a living individual. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, left, American solar astrophysicist, and professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, Eugene Parker, center, and President and Chief Executive Officer for United Launch Alliance Tory Bruno pose for a group photo in front of the ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Parker Solar on-board, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. This is the first NASA mission that has been named for a living individual. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket poised on Space Launch Complex-37 on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, that will carry NASA's Parker Solar Probe to an interplanetary trajectory to the sun. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: This long exposure photograph shows the Mobile Service Tower being rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard is seen shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard is seen shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 11: In this handout provided by NASA, The Mobile Service Tower is rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe is illuminated ahead of launch, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, The Mobile Service Tower is rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 10: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard is seen shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 11: In this handout provided by NASA, The Mobile Service Tower is rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 11: In this handout provided by NASA, The Mobile Service Tower is rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 12: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - AUGUST 11: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard, is reflected in water on the launch pad, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanitys first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 12: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 12: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 12: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is seen in this long exposure photograph as it launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 12: In this handout provided by NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
NASA's Parker Solar Probe launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Brown
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Dean said spacesuits come in medium, large and extra large sixes.

“No one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space,” she said.

More than 200 spacewalks have been conducted at the ISS since the satellite was launched into orbit in 1998. All of them have been carried out by male-only or mixed male-female teams.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story