, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I've been watching this burn across the internet today and now that I've had time to think about it I'd like to share my thoughts on the #AllWomanSpacewalk with you as a feminist and a space nerd. (1/14)
First I'm completely bummed out. This would have been a cool moment, it would have been something I could put up on the screen of my classroom and the optics of history being made during Women's History Month were so cool. (2/14)
But let's talk about optics for a hot second. You know who else thinks about optics? @NASA does. You find a lot of smart people at #NASA and not just the engineers and the scientists and the astronauts. Their army of public affairs people are pretty quick too. (3/14)
I guarantee you the entire public facing apparatus at #NASA knew how canceling the #AllFemaleSpacewalk would look, but they did it anyway. Why? (4/14)
On the surface I know you're screaming sexism but sexism wouldn't have scheduled it in the first place. This would have been a good moment for NASA and also a rare moment for the Trump administration as a whole to point to as championing women. (5/14)
So I know they knew how this would look. And tbh NASA has sometimes made the mistake of putting the optics ahead of anything else. "Political pressure" was cited as a reason that STS-51-L launched on the day it did regardless of concerns about safety. (6/14)
For my casual followers you might recognize STS-51-L better by it's much sadder moniker, the Challenger Disaster. (7/14) washingtonpost.com/archive/politi…
Political pressure also played a role on NASA pushing forward with #Apolo1 testing even though it was well known in the agency that there were safety issues. (7/14) space.com/35474-apollo-1…
So this time when Anne McClain spoke up and said that the suit size she had trained in successfully on Earth wasn't the safest option for her in space, we might have expected NASA to pressure her into going forward anyway, but they didn't. (8/14)
Rather than push forward with a potentially unsafe spacewalk, NASA chose to #ListentoWomen and #BelieveWomen and made a decision to have another astronaut do it instead.(9/14)
Those suits they use for those spacewalks aren't clothes, they are basically personal space ships. They only come in 3 sizes and they are modular with the gloves and legs coming off. (10/14)
From everything I've read they are uncomfortable as hell and cumbersome even when they do represent best fit. And sure the large fit her on Earth, but astronaut bodies change in space and also 0g is different than the pool. (11/14)
Meanwhile spacewalks are dangerous. Apparently we've all forgotten that time Astro Luca almost drowned on one because of a small leak in his cooling suit. (12/14)
And while I'd have loved to have the moment, that moment will come. There are more woman astronauts in the astronaut corps than ever before and they will get their flights. (13/14)
But personally, as a feminist, I consider it a bigger victory that the people in charge listened to her concerns and acted on them rather than pushing her to do something unsafe so they could have the visual. (14/14)
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