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NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Anne McClain. Photo via NASA.GOV

NASA has cancelled its first-ever all-female spacewalk, slated to take place on Friday, citing "spacesuit availability" on the International Space Station.

Details: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were expected to conduct a spacewalk to perform maintenance on the ISS. But during a more than 6-hour spacewalk to repair batteries on the ISS last week, McClain discovered that a medium-sized spacesuit fit her better than a large.

"McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso — essentially the shirt of the spacesuit — fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it," NASA said in a statement Monday. Astronaut Nick Hague will take McClain’s place.

Between the lines: Preparing a spacesuit to keep an astronaut safe in the harsh space environment is no easy task, and it's made harder by the old age of many of the spacesuits on the ISS.

  • NASA's decision to go with a ready, but larger, spacesuit and swap out astronauts is based largely on which suits are already prepared for use, rather than diverting crew time and effort to getting a smaller suit ready.
  • A spacesuit malfunction is one of the key safety concerns during a spacewalk.

Go deeper

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

54 mins ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.

3 hours ago - World

Pentagon warns of ISIS-K capabilities outside Afghanistan

The site of an airstrike conducted by the U.S. against a planner for ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan in August. Photo: Xinhua via Getty Images

U.S. intelligence believes ISIS-K has the "intent" to eventually launch attacks outside of Afghanistan and could be capable of doing so "somewhere between six or 12 months," a top Pentagon official told senators Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that terrorist groups will reconstitute and potentially pose a renewed threat to the U.S. homeland.

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