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Woman Excluded from Mir Mission Because of Height

Hours after a news conference publicizing Wendy Lawrence as the next astronaut to stay on the Mir space station, NASA announced on July 31 that it dropped her from the mission. Despite her year of training, Lawson cannot go through with the mission because of her height. At 5-foot-3, she does not meet Russia’s space agency’s height standards even though she was cleared to return last summer when the requirements were modified. Too small to fit into the Russian spacesuits used for spacewalks, she cannot conduct emergency repairs, made necessary by Mir’s collision last month. NASA officials claim that the former candidate’s sex had nothing to do with the decision to replace her, but John Pike, a space expert at the Federation of American Scientists, disagrees. He believes not wanting to put a woman in an increasingly dangerous environment contributed to the space agency’s action.

Sources:

Los Angeles Times - July 31, 1997

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