February 1, 2023

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What's going on with the toilet in the SpaceX capsule, anyway?

What’s going on with the toilet in the SpaceX capsule, anyway?

NASA gave the conditional green light to the mission of four SpaceX astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend. The only condition: the “toilet problem” must be solved.

It’s one of the topics that SpaceX hides around: Where is the tiny toilet in the Crew Dragon capsule and how does it work exactly? Even from a recent photo of French astronaut Thomas Bisquet, it’s hard to deduce how a low-gravity toilet actually works.

But NASA is now asking SpaceX to put all the cards on the table, after the embarrassing problem during SpaceX’s first-ever tourist spaceflight, the Inspiration4 mission, in September. The alarm went off because of a urinelek The ultra-compact toilet fan was not working properly.

In microgravity, the flow of urine flows in all possible directions. The accident leader, billionaire Jared Askman, confirmed there were problems, but denied that urine had entered the capsule. “I want to be 100 percent clear: There were absolutely no problems in the cab Which concerned, ’emphasizes in CNN.

Leak

Expert William Gerstenmaier (formerly NASA and now SpaceX) further explained what was going on at a press conference on Monday. Detach a tube attached to the urine tank. “As a result, the urine did not end up in the storage tank, but in the ventilator system.”

Inspiration4 space tourists did not notice, but after the flight, SpaceX inspectors determined that the floor of the capsule was “contaminated.” Then they looked at a previously used capsule, the Crew Dragon questAnd they found effects similar to urine leakage.

So it’s a build bug, which, according to SpaceX, has since been fixed. After approval by NASA, real testing of the improved toilet will follow during the flight to the International Space Station.

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