After the ISS astronauts ate chilli peppers grown in space for the first time on the Friday before their return flight, it turns out that the toilet in the Crew Dragon capsule is unusable. Therefore, the spaceman and the three returning spacemen have to wear diapers during the flight. It lasts at least 20 hours and should give a whole new dimension to the old saying that says that spicy food always burns twice.
Space travelers know that they are about to embark on an extraordinary journey. The NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation on Friday as “suboptimal”, but manageable. “Space is full of little challenges,” she said during a press conference from orbit about the Phys.org reported. “This is just one more that we will tackle during our mission. So we’re not too worried about it. “
Toilet problems are not the first time you have a problem with SpaceX. As part of the tourist Inspiration 4 mission in September, a hose had come loose during the flight, causing urine to leak under the floor slabs. SpaceX was able to repair this toilet. On that occasion, the technicians probably feared that it might be a general constructive problem.
So they asked the crew on the International Space Station to check the toilet in the docked capsule as well. In fact, the astronauts found pools of urine under the floor slabs even in space. Since a repair in orbit did not seem possible, the toilet was shut down without further ado.
At least the engineers were able to determine that the capsule had not suffered any structural damage from the urine and was safe for the return flight. Now the astronauts will have to rely on what NASA calls “absorbent underwear”.
It is unclear to what extent the consumption of the chilli peppers grown in space could have an impact. Astronaut McArthur described the first harvest, which found its way in tacos, as a “nice moral boost”, but at the same time characterized the space chilli as follows:
“They are pleasantly sharp and have a light, persistent sting. Some found it more uncomfortable than others ”.
In addition to Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide will return to Earth. Originally, the successor team should first be flown to the ISS before returning. Persistently bad weather and an unspecified health problem with a crew member had delayed the start further and further. SpaceX is currently planning the next mission for next Wednesday evening at the earliest.
One of the returnees, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, told reporters that the past six months in space had been very intense. For example, the space travelers had performed a series of space walks to upgrade the station’s power grid, had to endure accidental engine ignitions by docked Russian vehicles, which briefly brought the station into a tailspin, and had a private Russian film crew as guests. Until the next crew arrives, two Russian and one NASA astronauts have to take care of the ISS.
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SpaceX toilet broken: ISS astronauts return flight in diapers