Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Astronaut Suit Does not Fit


Okay, March 29 was supposed to be a historic moment in space: the first all-female spacewalk. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were scheduled to go out of the International Space Station—not as a stunt; it just so happened with the crew rotation that it would be two women and no man.

But Anne McClain decided to pass. She felt uncomfortable wearing the large spacesuit, and they only had one medium spacesuit, which Christina Koch would wear. See the account here.


Generic Spacesuit
photo by Adam Jones

One day they probably will have an all-female spacewalk—but not for the sake of being all-female. Whatever is practical.

So I’m going to use this as a lead-in for an excerpt from my novel manuscript, Alpha Shift. Christina has been badly hurt, but she has to pull on a flexible spacesuit.

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Undressing was not difficult. Dressing was hard. The exo suit was a one-piece, bulky with compressed air on the back, that had to go on properly. A sloppy job would still be airtight, but it would crimp and pull tightly in the most private parts.

The most expedient thing to do was lie down on the deck. That eased her back while leaving her particularly vulnerable. Then there was the long effort to pull the thing on left-handed while twinging her tailbone and jarring the hot-and-cold packs on her right elbow and shoulder enough to pepper her vision with red spots of pain. Try as she might, she couldn’t help huffing and moaning with the effort.

In the end Christina  stood, reeking of bitter sweat, panting, suit not quite closed.

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