Comedy show SNL wasted no time in delivering a funny but strong punch against NASA for forgoing the all-female spacewalk due to lack of available right-sized spacesuits.
Comedian Aidy Bryant parodied Anne McClain, half of the all-female crew that is supposed to do the spacewalk in the International Space Station on March 29.
'The Dream's Got To Die'
Clad in a blue NASA jumpsuit, Bryant's McClain sat down with Michael Che, host of "Weekend Update," to address the questions about the cancellation. When asked about what she felt about the cut, she responded she's only practical.
She further sarcastically explained that it is fine that her colleagues Nick Hague and Christina Koch, the other female astronaut, would get to see the Earth, swim in the stars, and look down on the planet and her while she would only stare at the window.
Bryant also did not fail to mention the accomplishments of McClain, which include performing more than 200 combat missions during the Operation Iraqi Freedom. She also flew 800 hours as a helicopter pilot during the same period.
"But then the space shirt and the pants were the wrong size so, actually unfortunately, the dream gotta die," she said.
When Che pointed out she's still able to go to space, parodied McClain responded that she did and enjoyed some "chill stuff" while in the ISS, such as eating steak dust and whizzing inside the tube.
Before the interview ended, she had left a fair warning on women dreaming to be astronauts like McClain.
"You can all become astronauts, just not at the same time!" she said.
Lacking Medium-Sized Spacesuit
Earlier in March, NASA announced that both Koch and McClain will do the first-ever female spacewalk before the month ended. To do that, they would have to wear the medium-sized upper-torso spacesuits, which act as space shirts.
Unfortunately, there are not enough of them in the ISS. Instead of reconfiguring the other available suits, the mission managers, together with McClain and Hague, decided to change the assignments.
On March 29, Koch made her first spacewalk in her career with Hague to replace old batteries. Seven days before that, McClain had done the same, also with Hague.
A Long Way To Go For Diversity
The cancellation of the all-female spacewalk reignites criticisms on the supposed lack of diversity in the space agency. In 2017, for example, women accounted for only 15 percent of the teams handling planetary missions.
In January 2018, the agency pulled out Jeanette Apps from the 56/57 Expedition. She would have been the first female African-American astronaut to become part of the crew.
NASA, however, may already be taking baby steps to improve the statistic. The New Frontiers competition highlighted the importance of diversity in the proposals.
Both McClain and Koch came from Astronaut Group 21, class of 2013, that had the highest percentage of female finalists. They comprised half of eight members of the group.