As SpaceX toilet problem hits, crew to use diapers while exiting International Space Station

    • After a delayed launch and several other challenges, SpaceX crew stuck with diapers due to a broken toilet problem on it when they depart the International Space Station.
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on Nov 07 2021, 12:47 AM IST
    NASA astronauts pose with chili peppers grown aboard the International Space Station on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. 
    NASA astronauts pose with chili peppers grown aboard the International Space Station on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.  ((NASA via AP))
    NASA astronauts pose with chili peppers grown aboard the International Space Station on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. 
    NASA astronauts pose with chili peppers grown aboard the International Space Station on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.  ((NASA via AP))

    A mundane problem,  has arisen aboard the SpaceX. Nothing lofty, nothing even related to rocket science, just the SpaceX toilet. It is refusing to work. Actually, it has sprung a leak. The craft is supposed to depart the International Space Station on Sunday, but due to the broken capsule toilet, the crew was left with no other choice but to use diapers for the next 20-hours. This problem was found in the last flight up into space, but it will have to be faced by the current crew aboard International Space Station who are set for their trip back to Earth.

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    Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, described the situation as "suboptimal" but ‘manageable’ on Friday, ABC News reported. From the time the hatches are closed until the planned splashdown on Monday morning, she and other three crew members will spend 20 hours in their SpaceX capsule with no possibility of relief.

    “Spaceflight is full of lots of little challenges. This is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission. So we’re not too worried about it," McArthur said during a news conference from orbit. 

    Challenges faced by astronauts on SpaceX 

    Thomas Pesquet, one of the crew members, told reporters that the last six months have been intense up there. The astronauts performed a series of spacewalks to update the station's electrical grid, dealt with unintended thruster firings from docked Russian spacecrafts that sent the station into a short spin, and hosted a private Russian film crew - a first for a space station.

    Crew discovered SpaceX toilet problem when they pulled up panels in their spacecraft and discovered pools of urine. Engineers evaluated that the urine had not compromised the integrity of the structure and that it was safe to go back. The astronauts will have to rely on absorbent "undergarments," as NASA defines them. Translated into common language, it means diapers.

    Even in the midst of challenges, the crew grew the first chili peppers in space. They got a taste of their harvest last week when they added green and red peppers to tacos. In addition to McArthur and Pesquet, the crew includes NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide who were sent to the space station on April 23 via SpaceX flight.

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    First Published Date: 07 Nov, 12:45 AM IST
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