No toilet for returning SpaceX crew, stuck using diapers

The astronauts who will depart the Worldwide Area Station on Sunday might be caught utilizing diapers on the way in which dwelling due to their capsule’s damaged rest room.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the scenario Friday as “suboptimal” however manageable. She and her three crewmates will spend 20 hours of their SpaceX capsule, from the time the hatches are closed till Monday morning’s deliberate splashdown.

“Spaceflight is stuffed with numerous little challenges,” she stated throughout a information convention from orbit. “This is only one extra that we’ll encounter and handle in our mission. So we’re not too anxious about it.”

After a sequence of conferences Friday, mission managers determined to convey McArthur and the remainder of her crew dwelling earlier than launching their replacements. That SpaceX launch already had been delayed greater than every week by unhealthy climate and an undisclosed medical concern involving one of many crew.

SpaceX is now concentrating on liftoff for Wednesday night time on the earliest.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who will return with McArthur, advised reporters that the previous six months have been intense up there. The astronauts carried out a sequence of spacewalks to improve the station’s energy grid, endured inadvertent thruster firings by docked Russian automobiles that despatched the station into temporary spins, and hosted a non-public Russian movie crew — an area station first.

Additionally they needed to take care of the bathroom leak, pulling up panels of their SpaceX capsule and discovering swimming pools of urine. The issue was first famous throughout SpaceX’s non-public flight in September, when a tube got here unglued and spilled urine beneath the floorboards. SpaceX mounted the bathroom on the capsule awaiting liftoff, however deemed the one in orbit unusable.

Engineers decided that the capsule had not been structurally compromised by the urine and was protected for the experience again. The astronauts must depend on what NASA describes as absorbent “undergarments.”

On the culinary facet, the astronauts grew the primary chile peppers in area — “a pleasant ethical increase,” in line with McArthur. They bought to pattern their harvest prior to now week, including items of the inexperienced and pink peppers to tacos.

“They’ve a pleasant spiciness to them, a little bit little bit of a lingering burn,” she stated. “Some discovered that extra troublesome than others.”

Additionally returning with McArthur and Pesquet: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. SpaceX launched them to the area station on April 23. Their capsule is licensed for a most 210 days in area, and with Friday marking their 196th day aloft, NASA is keen to get them again as quickly as potential.

One American and two Russians will stay on the area station following their departure. Whereas it might be higher if their replacements arrived first — to be able to share tips about dwelling in area — Kimbrough stated the remaining NASA astronaut will fill within the newcomers.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely chargeable for all content material.

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