Of all the astronaut gear necessary for a space mission, I would think that the suit is considered one of the most important items. So, why can’t NASA, with all of its highly-trained engineers and scientists, design a space suit specifically for women?
I mean, really. Have you heard about the recent all-woman spacewalk? It was a complete FAILURE. And nobody thought to give the astronauts—both of them women—suits that were meant for their bodies.
Why Was Designing a Woman Space Suit Overlooked?
I decided to investigate this topic because it was so surprising to me… How could NASA have apparently overlooked something as simple, yet crucial, as designing a woman space suit?
In the course of my research, I did find some heartening news. Apparently, NASA has reached gender parity; there are roughly the same number of men and women in the program—and that should be celebrated.
However, it does beg the question: Why isn’t there proper astronaut gear for women if there are so many of them employed at NASA?
In this instance, there are a few important details to keep in mind. The reason why the women-only space walk ultimately failed had to do with the effects of gravity on bodies in space. While in space, your spine elongates, but this can’t be simulated in training. Soon after going up, the effects of spinal elongation became apparent and one of the women could no longer fit into the suit intended for her and she had to make a difficult decision.
Our Bodies Are Not The Same
This partly explains why NASA didn’t foresee the problem. However, it doesn’t change the fact that one of our most technologically-advanced institutions is not meeting the needs of half of its people. They are lacking a critical piece of astronaut gear: the made-for-a-woman space suit.
Here are some further insights in what went on behind the scenes and my very personal message to NASA on how to solve this problem.
NOTE: Be prepared for dissenting opinions. There is some other rationale for swapping out the astronaut that can be found here. It’s not that the suit isn’t meant for women, it’s that one woman astronaut decided the suit she had originally planned to wear was going to be too large and she opted to have a man go instead for reasons of her personal safety.
Beate Chelette is the Founder of The Women’s Code and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.
Beate’s supports Business Owners and organizations who want to reach them two-fold. As The Growth Architect she creates training, outreach and sponsorship programs through customized Entrepreneur skills training following the 5 Star Success Blueprint that shows step-by-step how to grow, build and scale businesses.
In addition Beate provides leadership development programs for organizations that want to implement the ROI of Balanced Leadership through The Women’s Code, her signature system that educates leaders and helps companies achieve gender equality. The Women’s Code creates and implements programs that improve organizational culture, foster productive work environments and help companies improve their people ROI.
Beate is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on Leadership or Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect here.