NASA has explained why the space walk by two female astronauts scheduled for March 29 has been cancelled. In spite of the cancellation, a number of milestones have been achieved by women who are astronauts, including Cady Coleman who will be featured in an Out in Front talk at the AWESOME Symposium – May 1-3 in Seattle.
At first it was rumored that the spacewalk scheduled to be undertaken by Ann McClain and Christina Koch – and with support from another woman, flight controller Kristen Facciol — had to be cancelled because NASA has only one medium-sized spacesuit. But according to an article on npr.com, the issue was that on the International Space Station, there are two medium suits but only one had gone through the long, complex process to be prepped for space. It was originally thought a large size spacesuit would fit one of the women.
Symposium speaker, Cady Coleman’s accomplishments as an astronaut include acting as the Lead Robotics and Lead Science Officer aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and performing the second-ever robotic capture of a supply ship from the station. She is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and veteran of two space shuttle missions and six months aboard the International Space Station. She was also the first person to perform a flute duet from space.
At the Symposium, Cady will share her experiences in experimentation, innovation, problem-solving and teamwork that translate into leadership lessons and apply to the supply chain field as well as space travel.
Giving more background on the recent developments related to the all-female spacewalk, the npr.com article says, “Anne McClain and Christina Koch were both part of NASA’s 2013 astronaut candidate class, in which eight potential astronauts were chosen from more than 6,100 applicants. The class had an equal number between women and men.”
The article continues, “The availability of enough spacesuit sizes has long been a bit of a sensitive subject for NASA. Opportunities for women may have been hampered by the fact that spacesuits only came in medium, large and extra-large sizes. They used to come in small, but that size was cut in the 1990s when NASA had to redesign the suits because of a technical glitch.”