NASA Aerospace Agency notedthe female duo's spacewalk scheduled for March 29, which was to complete the installation of new batteries on the outer surface of the International Space Station. The reason is banal to impossibility - the unsuitable size of the spacesuit. In the end, instead of astronaut Ann McClain in a pair of Christina Kok will work astronaut Nick Haig.
"Nick Haig and Christina Kok are now preparingto hold a second spacewalk on Friday, March 29, during which they will continue the work begun in the previous spacewalk to install lithium-ion batteries on a pair of station solar antennas, ”the agency said.
"Kok had to perform an exit to the openspace with astronaut Ann McClain. However, after discussions with McClain and Haig after their first exit (held March 22), the mission leaders decided to change the teams, partly the decision was made because of the spacesuits available at the station, ”explained NASA.
NASA representative Stephanie Schirholz on hisThe Twitter page reported that McClain was conducting workouts in space suits the size of "M" and "L". But during the first spacewalk, McClain realized that the suit's torso (upper part) of the size “M” was better suited to her. Schirholz notes that it is easier and faster to replace an astronaut than to prepare another spacesuit. Therefore, the only option available on March 29 will go to Christina Kok.
And the point here is not only that NASA does not haveA sufficient number of space suits for female astronauts (any space suit has a modular design and can be converted to the size of a person). It’s just that the US Aerospace Agency has a shortage of spacesuits.
Back in 2017, NASA published a report onspacesuits that are currently being used on the ISS, where it noted that they are so old that they might not even be able to “officially” stop supporting the ISS program, which is expected to close in 2024.
“Among the 11 fully functional spacesuits available, 4 are on the ISS, and the remaining 7 are on Earth. Now they are being repaired and checked, ”the report said.
The agency is also developing brand new ones.Z-Series Pressure Garment System spacesuits, but their creation will require a lot of money and time, which is scarce in the conditions of already distributed funding.
As for McClain, according topreliminary data, she will be able to go into outer space on April 8 to carry out maintenance work on the station together with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. At the same time, NASA notes that the exact composition of participants in this year’s third planned spacewalk will be approved after the work assigned to Haig and Kok is completed.
You can discuss the news in our Telegram-chat.