McClain, having trained in both medium and large sizes, had assumed that she would be able to wear a large size torso, but after conducting a spacewalk last week, decided a medium would be better fit for her.
The first all-female spacewalk, originally scheduled for this Friday, March 29, has been dumped because they couldn't get two lady-size spacesuits ready in time, according to a statement from NASA. McClain is now "tentatively scheduled" to perform her next one on 8 April.
McClain went on a spacewalk in this series on March 22, also with Nick Hague, the astronaut who will join Koch in Friday's mission.
Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were supposed to make the historic spacewalk on Friday, when they were to install lithium-ion batteries to one pair of the station's solar arrays.
"To date, almost 60 American women have flown in space", according to The Atlantic. However, after completing the walk, she noted how hard it was to maneuver in the large suit and requested a medium suit for this week's spacewalk. Hague will instead perform the spacewalk with Koch to replace batteries that are part of the station's power system. Unfortunately, there'll only be one suit available in this size - and it also fits Koch.
Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first female to walk in space when she walked out of the Salyut 7 space station 35 years ago.
The first all-female spacewalk - featuring a graduate from N.C. State University - has been canceled by NASA for an odd reason. McClain did her EVA (extravehicular activity) in a size large spacesuit and quickly realized it wasn't working.
Agency officials, though, emphasized they did not deliberately team up Koch and McClain for that milestone.
"I do not want to turn to a young girl who has all the talent in the world, becomes an extraordinary engineer, but isn't the right size, to tell her, 'I'm sorry but our nation can't build a suit for you, '" Dunbar said, reports NPR. Spacewalks on other missions have always been either all-male or male-female. A man will accompany astronaut Christina H. Koch in her place.
As women continue to make up a greater percentage of the astronaut corps, more gender records will be set and not just in spacewalking, Dean noted.
These will be the 215th and 216th spacewalks in the history of International Space Station assembly and maintenance.