The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Nothing to wear: as a result of unsuitable spacesuits, the 'female' spacewalk was postponed for six months


Source: ForbesWomen Russia

Emancipation has long overcome the limits of gravity, and a woman in outer space today is as commonplace as in the cockpit of an airliner or in the director's chair. Here are just astronaut uniforms, developed by order of NASA back in the middle of the 70's, do not take this into account.

“American women Christina Cook and Jessica Meir went into outer space October 18th. The time spent by the female duo outside the ISS was 7 hours 17 minutes. During this period, the astronauts managed to replace the failed battery pack and performed a number of routine maintenance operations onboard equipment. Upon returning to the station, the girls received congratulations from the US President. This event was widely covered in the media; if not everyone, then many people know about it. However, not everyone is familiar with its background, ”writes Alia Grieg for ForbesWomen Russia.

The fact is that only the second attempt by the Americans to release the female tandem into outer space was successful. The first was scheduled for late March, a couple of Christine Cook, then still an ISS rookie, was to be an experienced Ann McClain. However, things did not go according to plan. Just a few days before the action, it turned out that there was only one medium-sized spacesuit at the station that corresponded to the anthropological features of the female figure. The rest - L and XL - turned out to be hopelessly great Cook and McClain. Working in them overboard would be not only uncomfortable, but also dangerous.

As a result, the Americans decided that it was easier to replace a person than a spacesuit, and on 29 on March a mixed crew went overboard the ISS. Cristina Cook's partner in outer space was male astronaut Nick Haig. The twin female space exit had to be postponed for more than six months, and the reputation of the US National Space Agency (NASA) was dealt a painful blow.

Old collection

Today, scolding Roskosmos is almost a sign of good taste. Everything is out of date, the number of promising developments tends to zero, the domestic space industry with a creak leaves for baggage, which was accumulated in the Soviet era. Is it so? Partly yes. However ... NASA's budget compared to the budget of the Russian space agency looks more than impressive: $ 21,5 billion against about $ 2,7 billion for 2019 year. But money does not solve everything, and the situation with American spacesuits is a vivid confirmation of this.

The development of the EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit), which NASA astronauts use today for spacewalks, began almost half a century ago, in 1974, and entered the agency’s arsenal in the distant 1981. Since then, the Internet has appeared on Earth, the era of cell phones has begun and ended, smartphones that have replaced them are being improved almost every month, unmanned vehicles drive along the streets. But the astronauts continue to put on their spacesuits over and over, worn by Storey Musgrave and Donald Peterson, who first tested them in outer space in 1983.

On the subject: The first woman in the world to go into outer space: the story of Svetlana Savitskaya

Фото: Depositphotos

The expert community has criticized NASA's passivity in this area for more than a year. The planned life of the EMU is 15 years, many of the spacesuits in the arsenal of the agency have almost doubled it. According to the NASA Inspector General's Service for the 2017 year, there were 11 workable suits at the disposal of the American astronauts, of which only four on board the ISS. The fact that in early spring at the station there were no two serviceable EMUs of the right size was the last straw. The March failure led to a wave of negative comments in the media and social networks against NASA, from outright perplexity to caustic ridicule.

In order to somehow reduce reputation losses, on the eve of the second attempt to launch the female tandem into outer space, the agency arranged a big show - a presentation of the equipment of new generation astronauts. The public was presented with the prototypes of spacesuits for long-distance space flights and landing on the moon:

  • OCSS - a lightweight suit designed for use inside a spacecraft, orbital station and descent module;
  • xEMU - a heavy spacesuit for spacewalks and walks on the surface of other planets.

Characteristically, to demonstrate the new products in action was entrusted to a woman - a NASA development engineer Christine Davis. Having defiled on stage at xEMU, the girl picked up a stone from the floor and handed it to the head of the agency, designed to symbolize a sample of the lunar rock. During the presentation, it was especially noted that new spacesuits can be customized not only for men, but also for female astronauts.

The phantom of feminism in orbit

The first developers of equipment to enter the airless space did not expect that women would become users of their products. Today, space is a territory of equal opportunities, and the fact that the squad of American astronauts in recent years consists of men only half is the best confirmation of this. However, the path to parity was not dotted with roses. For example, Hillary Clinton, Trump rival in the last presidential race, at one time was not able to become a participant in the space race. Although I really wanted to. In 2012, she admitted: “Since childhood, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. When I was thirteen, I wrote to NASA to find out what it takes to fly into space. " It was 1960 a year, before the flight of Valentina Tereshkova there were three more years left. No wonder young Hillary politely refused.

Two decades later, the picture is no longer recognizable: a woman in outer space is no longer considered exotic. A good example: 1980 year, a special department of NASA is working hard to create ... a space cosmetic bag. The composition of the first astrocosmetic included:

  • mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow;
  • lipstick, blush;
  • makeup remover.

It was decided not to pamper the skin care products or nail polish of women in orbit.

On the subject: In the United States declassified cosmetics for female astronauts

For almost forty years - and today in the world, serious feminist passions rage. At the epicenter of the event is the astronaut Ann McClain, who was mentioned above. It turns out that while in orbit, McClain enjoyed her official position and through NASA servers tracked the movement of funds in the bank accounts of her spouse, an American intelligence officer, Summer Worden. With which, incidentally, remotely divorced. The results of the investigation are not advertised, but if McClain’s guilt is proven, she risks becoming the first space criminal in history. The achievement, of course, is at least very dubious, but unique.

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