back to article NASA's first all-woman spacewalk outside ISS cancelled – due to lack of spacesuits that fit

NASA's first-of-its-kind all-women spacewalk, due to take place this week, has been scrapped - in part due to a lack of spacesuits that fit. On March 29, International Space Station 'nauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, were due to suit up and head out into the obsidian void to replace a set of batteries on the orbiting …

  1. jake Silver badge

    Cue ...

    .... 14 year old dipshits with misogynistic comments in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cue ...

      Is that you, Avenatti?

      Like OMG, I have NOTHING to wear!!!!!!

      I know, right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cue ...

      @jake are you saying it would be inappropriate to discuss the sizing of ISS suit upper torso components using El Reg Standard Units of the Bulgarian variety? You may have a point.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cue ...

      The story is in for no other reason

    4. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cue ...

      They'd be making tits of themselves

    5. Valerion

      Re: Cue ...

      Unable to go out because they can't find anything that fits?

      Sounds like every woman I've ever known...*

      *All 3 of them.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Trollface

    "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

    I absolutely could _NOT_ resist!

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      Dang. You beat me to it.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

        And me too!!!!

        Damn!!!

    2. P. Lee

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      Moon-sized!

      I'll leave it to your racial self-identification to decide if that's good or bad.

      But the question which I'm sure is burning in everyone's mind is, what gender is the person who makes the suit that wasn't delivered?

      Is it another failure of the patriarchy?

      Was it a woman with internalized misogyny?

      Or do we have absolutely zero interest in which gender is going for a walk or doing anything, unless their gender is relevant to the success of task at hand?

      1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

        Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

        That's no moon...

    3. Nattrash
      Trollface

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      Shirley, you gentlemen here do know that the ISS loo does also require a certain willy size to have a proper wee? (Yep, you do have to fill the yellow funnel properly) So, how do you measure up? Think you're the right stuff?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

        So, how do you measure up? Think you're the right stuff?

        Looks a bit tight to me.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

        LOL at toilet cubicle : 5 walls that look tough enough to be a spaceship in their own right and a base made for Ripley's loading suit .. but no door.

    4. Ima Ballsy
      Coat

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      NO!!! Your ass makes your ASS look big !!!!

    5. MrDamage

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      Yeah, but it takes the focus off your face."

    6. Scroticus Canis
      Holmes

      Re: "Does this space suit make my ass look big?"

      Nothing to do with the spacesuit madame.

  3. ocratato

    Basic Logistics

    I am surprised, and a bit concerned, that they got as far as announcing the space walk before discovering they did not have the necessary stuff to do it.

    I would have thought NASA would know of every item on the ISS and such a shortage should have been flagged almost instantly.

    1. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: Basic Logistics

      Magical thinking works on paper and makes good PR. I wonder if the decision to announce the walk came from a Trump appointee.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Basic Logistics

      I found a couple of hints on the net: There are two medium-sized hard upper spacesuit torsos on the ISS, but only one is currently configured for EVA and the other cannot be configured in time. Also, an astronaut can prefer one size on the ground and find the prefer a different size in space.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Basic Logistics

          It may be that gravity which is an enemy to parts of female anatomy on Earth is virtually non existent in orbit, so the need to 'lift and separate' is replaced by the need to ' support and restrain.

          In my defence, this suggestion is a result of consultation with my wife who has a more intimate understanding of the potential issues.

        2. aawelj

          Re: Basic Logistics

          Apparently, under constant microgravity, the lady in question has grown 2 inches taller. This does make it harder to choose a size in advance.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Theoretically it shouldn't, unless there is no way to know by how much she would grow before the mission was planned.

            Remember the film Apollo 13 ? NASA has a reputation for having everything quantified and on record, therefor they know what suits they have on board and their size. If they know how to determine by how much a person will grow in space before launch, then they should have the whole thing planned, checked and validated before even thinking about announcing it.

            Of course if, despite their extensive experience, it is still impossible to determine exactly how a given person's height will vary, then the planning stage will have to allow for an on-board check that the intended suit still fits. Maybe that is what happened.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "If they know how to determine by how much a person will grow in space before launch, then they should have the whole thing planned, checked and validated before even thinking about announcing it."

              AIUI from later reports (posting 14 hours after you), she had practiced in the water tanks on the ground in both medium and large and was happy with either, but people in space tend to lose body mass and she found the large suit was now too large for her, extra height gained by the spine extending a bit notwithstanding.

      2. fwadman

        Re: Basic Logistics

        If a spacesuit isn't configured for an EVA … what on ISS *is* it configured for ? World book day dress up costume?

        1. Lusty

          Re: Basic Logistics

          I'd imagine there are more suit "clothing" parts than tech parts (such as breathing gubbins or heating/cooling bits). As a result they probably add the tech bits to the appropriate size suit as needed, allowing a choice of sizing without too much stuff in space. They have a pretty busy schedule so I guess there just isn't a window between now and the planned date to reconfigure. That said I'm sure that one of the ladies would make some time...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Basic Logistics

            "That said I'm sure that one of the ladies would make some time..."

            You think maybe one took a sewing kit up just in case? :-)

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Basic Logistics

          If you read the article, you'll learn piecing a suit together from arms/legs/torso/MWS is really labor intensive, and they don't have the time.

    3. Erroneous Howard

      Re: Basic Logistics

      I read elsewhere that one of the astronauts had previously been training in both the medium and large size suit, but perhaps due to the changes that undergo the body in space, she found that the medium was more suitable - too late to reconfigure the second suit safely, and in time.

      When I first read the story I thought "wtf?" about there not being the correct, fitting equipment, but after reading it did make more sense how it can happen unexpectedly.

    4. Tikimon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Basic Logistics

      You may have missed the critical part that she CHANGED HER MIND WHEN ALREADY IN SPACE. She decided AFTER the first spacewalk that the medium fit better.

      It's NASA being nice to the astronauts and saying "Sure, you can wear that one if you prefer. We won't have enough though so you'll have to take turns this time". The women's needs were not forgotten or overlooked, they are being nicely accommodated. This is putting the humans ahead of the Stated Goals, a completely admirable act.

      However, we get a clickbait headline implying something WRONG and possibly even sexist. Gah...

    5. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Basic Logistics

      I am surprised, and a bit concerned, that they got as far as announcing the space walk before discovering they did not have the necessary stuff to do it.

      Reminds me of the time at Chicago O'Hare when the plane next to ours boarded. The gangway was roped off then after ten minutes they all had to come back off. The reason given was that the plane was not suitable because the runaway was too short. Still - at least they realised that well before starting the approach...

      :-/

  4. wolfetone Silver badge
    Coat

    There is a joke about Koch not fitting in to something

    But because of #MeToo, and the fact I'm not 12 and a sensible adult, I'm unable to recount such a thing.

  5. EPurpl3

    So here we are... ready to conquer the infinite.... :)))

    BTW, who would've thought that a woman named Cock wont fit? :)))

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    How is this a pioneering moment?

    I thought astronauts were space walking for decades. Is there some fundamental difference between male and female astronauts that means having 2 female ones outside at the same time is some critical issue?

    Do they have special powers that when combined bend the laws of physics?

    Whats the reasoning behind this? I saw 3 women in a car yesterday! One of them was driving! I remember once seeing a couple of women, again in a car, changing a flat tire. OMG why wasnt this in the news? Such pioneering moments lost to the mists of time.

    As for the equipment that doesnt fit issue. Looks like a market there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RbELQQdBW4

    1. Jedit
      FAIL

      "How is this a pioneering moment?"

      Because it hasn't happened before?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: "How is this a pioneering moment?"

        "Because it hasn't happened before?"

        Loads of things haven't happened before though. It's not the first female spacewalk, or the second, it would have been the first time two happened to take place at the same time.

        Unless the previous astronauts were being helped around by the man, having both of them being women is something minor.

        1. F111F

          Re: "How is this a pioneering moment?"

          Just do the damn job. Let history sort out that something was the first, or somehow important. NASA got it right when they said: "When you have the option of just switching the people, the mission becomes more important than a cool milestone," NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told the New York Times.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "How is this a pioneering moment?"

        "Because it hasn't happened before?"

        Will it be news when there are three out there at the same time?

    2. BeerTokens
      Coat

      Re: Really?

      How can they be in the car and changing the tire at the same time, that's definitely a pioneering moment not just for womenfolk but for all mankind!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really?

        "How can they be in the car and changing the tire at the same time, that's definitely a pioneering moment not just for womenfolk but for all mankind!"

        Read it...

        Different people

      2. M.V. Lipvig

        Like this

        http://captaingino.com/changing-car-tires-driving-saudi-arabia/

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Like this

          Darwin award candidates. Or, if you prefer, stupid fucking idiots.

          Here's a somewhat safer/saner way to do it:

          https://sdautomuseum.org/exhibit/louie-mattars-fabulous-car

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      > How is this a pioneering moment?

      The truly pioneering moment I look forward to is when it is no longer necessary to draw attention to such events. Sadly, a long way away yet, I suspect.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Wow, 11 people thumb this down (at time of writing).

      11 people indicating they believe men and women are not equal.

  7. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Coat

    I'm surprised I got this far through the comments and not found something along the lines of "two women refusing to go out in the same outfit"

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge
      Joke

      Thank you and kindly leave the solar system!

  8. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

    Batteries

    Seems to me it would save a lot of effort to have the battery pack door on the inside of the spacecraft.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Batteries

      There is no need to waste conditioned space on a potentially hazardous item with a long life span that can handle living outdoors. Where do you keep your gas/petrol, diesel, household fuel oil or propane? How about your battery, if you've gone solar or otherwise have a "whole house" UPS? Going outside with spares once a decade or so is a lot less costly than the engineering involved when using such things as part of the furniture.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Re: Batteries

        I didn't suggest the battery should be inside, just the door to get access to it.

        I don't have fuel oil for the house, but like most my car has its fuel tank on the inside.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Batteries

          Why would you want access from the inside ? To swap the battery with the one in your back pocket ?

          It's more likely that a replacement battery would initially be OUTSIDE, so it's far easier to put it into an external door than somehow get it inside the suit to use an internal door.

        2. DCFusor Silver badge

          Re: Batteries

          Inside the passenger compartment....??? So when you go to refuel it, you put the hose in through a door or window? No wonder the downvotes.

          1. Kernel Silver badge

            Re: Batteries

            "Inside the passenger compartment....??? So when you go to refuel it, you put the hose in through a door or window? No wonder the downvotes."

            Not unheard of - many years ago my father owned an earlier model Landrover (Series 2, I think) in which the fuel tank was the support for the driver's seat - refueling involved lifting the seat, removing the filler cap and adding petrol from the hose which was either passed through the window, or, more conveniently, through the driver's door.

            1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

              Re: Batteries

              I've seen some really old cars (20s?) which had the fuel-filling pipe in the middle of the dashboard. Presumably to make it more convenient to fill up while driving along.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Batteries

      Apart from the minor issue of pressurised (inhabitable) volume being at a premium.

      At least until Bigelow get to put a few large balloon modules up there and not just the toy one that's bolted on at the moment.

      I wonder if the free flying ones can be captured, reorbited and attached?

      1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

        Re: Batteries

        You are right about Bigelow being a potential game-changer. Imagine a huge one, with everything inside (except the solar panels of course, which would be flexible and printed on the surface). Zorbs In Spaaace!

  9. picturethis
    Holmes

    In Case of Emergency?

    One a serious note, I thought there were enough space suits (that fit?) for every member on board at any given time.

    If there was an emergency (air leak via meteor strike), wouldn't SOP dictate that everyone suits up? What - the women would draw straws?

    This seems like more than just a casual oversight.. In fact I would suspect that NASA is likely just putting on a good face while much more serious discussions are taking place privately.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: In Case of Emergency?

      SOP is that they get into the Soyuz capsules. https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-evacuation-plan-on-the-ISS-in-case-of-an-emergency-Are-there-any-drills-performed-on-the-ISS-for-an-evacuation

      In the event of the station becoming uninhabitable an EVA suit isn't going to help you much.

      1. tony72

        Re: In Case of Emergency?

        In the event of the station becoming uninhabitable an EVA suit isn't going to help you much.

        You mean Gravity was all a lie?!!?

        1. USER100
          Coat

          Re: In Case of Emergency?

          The film, Gravity, contained a crucial error of physics.

          When Bullock and Clooney (can't remember the character names) are orbiting the Earth, holding on to each other by a rope, Bullock eventually lets go, dooming Clooney to oblivion. BUT, if they were in orbit together and one let go, their speeds would not change - so Clooney would have stayed exactly where he was relative to Bullock, instead of being whisked away like in the film.

      2. Mog_X
        Happy

        Re: In Case of Emergency?

        an EVA suit isn't going to help you much - wouldn't you just aim at a soft spot on Earth and fire the thrusters?

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: In Case of Emergency?

          Minor issues aside (the most trifling of them being the small matter of heat shielding) what you actually need to do to re-enter the atmosphere is slow down, so you should aim backwards along your orbit and fire thrusters. Whether a suit has the delta-V to make a dent in your orbital velocity, timing the burn to descend towards a spot of your choice, and calculating the altitude at which you will burn up before reaching it are exercises left to the reader.

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: In Case of Emergency?

            You guys want to read about MOOSE - Man Out Of Space Easiest

            Basically it's a heatshield you wear on your back, and a deorbit retrorocket you put on your chest.

            SPORTY AS FUCK and very Kerbal but I'd try it in a heartbeat!

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOOSE

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: In Case of Emergency?

        SOP is that they get into the Soyuz capsules. https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-evacuation-plan-on-the-ISS-in-case-of-an-emergency-Are-there-any-drills-performed-on-the-ISS-for-an-evacuation

        Yes, and it takes a long time to get into a space suit, usually with two unsuited people helping you in. One could help at a stretch, but who helps the last one into his/her suit?

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: In Case of Emergency?

      I thought there were enough space suits (that fit?) for every member on board at any given time.

      I'd guess that there's a difference between a suit that will keep you alive, and one that allows hours of strenuous EVA without injury (or chafing!)

  10. Christoph Silver badge

    The real problem

    The available spacesuits had pockets, so they couldn't let women wear them.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Amazon Prime

    Couldn't NASA order a space suit on Amazon? Bezos could then send up a Blue Origin vessel to deliver it with Amazon Prime plastered all over

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only *in part* due to wrong size

    As the article says, it was only *in part* due to the spacesuits not being the right size.

    They were also the wrong colour.

    (I'd get me coat, but not with *these* shoes.)

  13. Loatesy

    As with most 'spur-of-the-moment' publicity stunts, its gone wrong at the last minute.

  14. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Alien

    I was supposed to fly to ISS

    But they don't have XXL spacesuits... and Falcon Heavy would need to be uprated.

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