The toilet on a SpaceX spacecraft is out of service for astronauts returning to Earth in November, NASA said.
Crew-2 astronauts will instead have to rely on “underwear” for toilet breaks, an official said.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, which was also used for the Inspiration4 mission, was also given a leaky toilet.
The toilet on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will be out of service for four astronauts flying back to Earth in November, a NASA official said Friday, according to reports.
NASA astronauts on the Crew-2 mission returning from the International Space Station (ISS) will instead have to rely on “underwear,” Steve Stich, the agency’s commercial crew leader, said on Friday, according to CNN.
The astronauts on the Crew-2 mission found a leak in the toilet of the Crew Dragon capsule, which is currently anchored at the ISS after flying them there in April, Insiders Morgan Mcfall-Johnsen reported earlier. A toilet leak was also discovered on the Crew Dragon capsule during SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission.
The exact date of the Crew-2 mission’s return to Earth has not yet been announced, but is expected to be in the weeks following the Crew-3 mission’s arrival on the ISS.
Stich said it is normal for astronauts to wear underwear, adding that they are usually used as a backup in spaceflight. “Our intention is not to use the system for the return trip at all because of what we have seen with the fluids we are talking about,” Stich said according to a Space report.
“We have other means to enable the crew to perform the functions they need,” he added to Space. “It’s a short mission to get home.”
The travel time from the ISS back to Earth aboard a Crew Dragon capsule may vary. SpaceX’s first manned flight, called Demo-2, took just over 19 hours to return in August 2020 per. Space, while the Crew-1 mission back to Earth in May lasted nearly seven hours.
SpaceX’s first fully civilian crew, Inspiration4, first discovered a problem with the Crew Dragon capsule toilet during their three-day space mission. A pipe transporting urine from the toilet into a storage tank loosened under the spaceship’s floor and leaked clutter on a fan, which generates suction to ensure human waste goes in the right direction. The fan then sprayed urine all over the spaceship floor.
Inspiration4 space tourists ended up having to repair the fan, crew member Jared Isaacman said in an interview with CNN.
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