NASA announced this week that they are sending the first woman to the moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission. The Artemis mission aims to create the first sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028.
Although the first astronauts landed on the moon 45 years ago, no female astronaut has actually been to the moon. Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, was sent into space in 1983 as part of the STS-7 mission, but never landed on the moon itself. Multiple men, however, have landed on the moon during the Apollo missions from the 1960s-the early 1970s.
This announcement comes after NASA received backlash for cancelling the historic all-women spacewalk due to a lack of spacesuits in March. NASA claims only one correctly sized spacesuit will be accessible for when the walk was scheduled. Anne McClain, one of the two women set for the mission, was forced to forfeit her place to a male colleague.
A plethora of people questioned NASA over their limited number of suit sizes. NASA’s lack of smaller suit sizes disproportionately affects women, who tend to be smaller than their male counterparts. NASA did an analysis of spacesuit sizing in 2003, and found that spacesuits did not limit men, while a third of the women could not fit into the suits, limiting their ability to spacewalk.
Media Resources: CBS 6/16/19; Feminist Newswire 3/27/19; NPR 3/26/19