𝘈 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦… pic.twitter.com/2fDXJX94wa— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 25, 2019
When NASA reconfigured its first all-female spacewalk—set to make history at the International Space Station on Friday—because there weren't enough medium-sized spacesuits readily available for both women astronauts, people had opinions. And suggestions. Overwhelmingly, this one:
Make another suit. https://t.co/mu9w13xsi0— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 26, 2019
Twitter erupted after reports began to circulate that NASA had just one medium-sized spacesuit torso—the hard, shirt-like portion of the suit that best fit the women astronauts—aboard the station. It was essentially the reverse of that scene in Mean Girls when a bloated Regina can't zip her Spring Fling dress and is told by a snooty sales clerk to try Sears because "we only carry sizes 1, 3, and 5." Evidently, NASA only carries sizes for men.
Actually, that's not the case—the Space Station clarified there are indeed multiple medium-sized suits aboard, but "to stay on schedule ... it's safer and faster to change spacewalker assignments than reconfigure spacesuits."
As such, astronaut Christina Koch will wear the sole spacesuit available for Friday's walk and will instead be joined by a male colleague, Nick Hague, rather than Anne McClain as originally planned.
Even though the cancellation is due to the suits' availability—not their existence—it still begs the question of why there aren't more medium-sized torsos already aboard and ready to go, especially after NASA graduated its most recent class of flight directors, a full 50 percent of whom were women. Koch and McClain both came from the 2013 class, which was also half female, CNN reported.
Plz call Christian Siriano. https://t.co/q3XwsjJsyW— Shantira Jackson (@tira_son) March 26, 2019
Enter Orangetheory—yes, Orangetheory, the technology-based, trainer-led workout class that's swept the nation and Houston especially with a recent onslaught of studio openings here. The Florida-based fitness franchise plans to have 25 Houston-area locations by the end of this year. And, it just so happens, McClain—the astronaut who got shut out of this historic walk—belongs to one of them.
McClain, a Houston resident, is a regular member at Orangetheory's Webster studio when she's on Earth. In fact, she even used the high-intensity interval training workouts to prepare for her time in space. So, in support of McClain, Orangetheory has offered to fund the creation of a new spacesuit tailored to fit women. And yes, it will be orange.
Here's hoping NASA takes OT up on its offer and McClain is given another chance to bust a zero-gravity glass ceiling.