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Because… There’s No Underwear in Space

“Anyway, George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, ‘You can’t wear a bra under that dress.’
So, I say, ‘Okay, I’ll bite. Why?’
And he says, ‘Because… there’s no underwear in space.’
I promise you this is true, and he says it with such conviction too! Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties or briefs anywhere.
Now, George came to my show when it was in Berkeley. He came backstage and explained why you can’t wear your brassiere in other galaxies, and I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here’s why you cannot wear your brassiere, per George. So, what happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t- so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make a fantastic obit- so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”


Meanwhile… the news at the time of publication is that there was going to be an all-female spacewalk and that would be a first-time-ever, but plans changed due to a lack of spacesuits. This has displeased the great kittens of the internet, but here’s an interesting view about the story. From a friend of a friend:

Alright – I’m climbing out of my Lenten abstinence from Facebook to talk about spacewalks for a moment. Because apparently there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I’m not making this post public because I don’t have the bandwidth to argue with a bunch of trolls. I worked 63 hours last week solving a lighting problem for our future suit and solving a pressure sensor problem on a suit on orbit. And I’m still doing #allthethings with the kids and the house… so here’s the deal:
Unfortunately we’ve swapped crew members for this Friday’s spacewalk. It was supposed to be two female astronauts going out the door for the first time in history on any space program, but now it’s a female and a male astronaut. The reason is not nearly as sexist or inflammatory as the internet is making it.
NASA designed and built 18 spacesuits about 40 years ago. We lost some of them on Challenger, Columbia, and on a lost Space-X cargo vehicle a couple years ago. Space is hard and suits are expensive (think millions of dollars) – they’re tiny spaceships built for one! So, in order to keep a working fleet of 4 suits on orbit, the other 7 are down on the ground in various stages of being torn apart, rebuilt, maintained and tested, in preparation for their next flight to ISS. 
We only change suits out every 6 years, but we change crew out every 3-6 months, and we only get the crew assignments about a year ahead of time. So, we try to keep a range of sizes on board with those 4 suits (right now we have a M, 2 L, and an XL). We never built smalls, which may be the only place NASA went wrong, but there are very real engineering challenges with building a small, I’m told (beyond the very real challenges with just building a suit that keeps you alive and allows you to accomplish tasks like turning a wrench in the vacuum of space). Like the arm holes are so close together you can’t fit your computer on your chest – the suit literally couldn’t be built without substantially overhauling the design. 
Anyway we size each crewmember before they fly but we have no idea how much spinal growth and fluid shift they’ll experience once they’re no longer in the earth’s gravity. Literally every body is different. Our team uses the vast amount of medical data we’ve collected in those 40 years to estimate how much someone is likely to grow. McClain was sized to fit one suit but was told she could use another suit as a backup – that she was anticipated to grow enough to fit either size. Turns out she got on orbit and that’s just not the case. Koch was already assigned to the smaller suit for Friday, so they grabbed another crewmember who’s definitely a larger size and assigned him to the other suit. 
Why? Because we have a job to get done. Because this spacewalk wasn’t about making history, this spacewalk was about changing out the batteries that power our station and getting a power jumper installed to better protect us from future failures. This was about getting a job done, and the historical aspect of the coincidental crew assignment was a nice byproduct that just isn’t available to us like we thought it would be. We’re NASA and we focus on the mission. 
Just know that there’s a bunch of women at NASA, outside of NASA – and I’m sure on ISS – who are disappointed about this turn of events, but remain focused on the mission in front of us. We are GO for EVA. 
Oh – and – we’re in the process of designing the next fleet of spacesuits. In my “spare time” I’m the Safety lead on that project. ? And you can bet your bottom dollar we already have requirements in place to do better with variable sizing with this next suit fleet. First test suit launches in 2023…

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