After nearly 200 days in space, four astronauts are returning to Earth this week from the International Space Station (ISS). The only problem? The eight-hour mission will be missing a toilet after SpaceX Dragon’s capsule toilet was found to leak urine after use.
“Space travel is full of many small problems,” NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur said during a press conference from orbit, as reported by AP.
“This is just another one that we will face and that we will take care of in our mission. So we’re not too worried about that. “
Toilets on the ISS and other spaceships are known for their trick: they have a suction funnel for urine and a hole for targeting feces.
But even that sounds better than what the team will do instead. NASA said they will use absorbent “underwear,” also known as “adult diapers,” on their eight-hour trip home.
According to NASA, the Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavor is scheduled to undock from the ISS at 14:05 EST (1905 UTC) on Monday, with a splashdown scheduled at approximately 22:30 EST that same day (03:30 UTC). the next morning).
Four astronauts – MacArthur from NASA and Shane Kimbrow, Akihiko Hoshid from Japan’s JAXA and Thomas Pesce from ESA from France – will leave three astronauts at the station, one American and two Russian crew members.
A leaking toilet (which the team had to clean by hand a couple of weeks ago) wasn’t the only problem when changing crews, and there were some issues getting the next crew into space as well.
Here’s one of the most secret yet useful systems on a spaceship … our toilet! There is a privacy curtain, and everything else is really purely technical details … let’s just say the only benefit is the view. 😉 Hello to your designer @SpaceX! https://t.co/pL3lD2UGF6 pic.twitter.com/AbB3cCNe4Z
– Thomas Pesce (@Thom_astro) April 25, 2021
Firstly, the weather was bad, and secondly, due to an undisclosed “minor medical problem”, one of the following crew members postponed the launch date.
This means that the team will not be able to transmit in space, it will be done remotely.
“Most of this broadcast time is just showing the little things about life in space – things we don’t learn, like eating, going to the bathroom and sleeping, and those little tidbits that we pass on to the next one,” Kimbrough told reporters.
“And if we are not here, then [remaining American astronaut] Mark Vande Hey can certainly do that and help the next team gain momentum. “
Since undocking will begin very soon (you can watch the live video below), the team will be preparing to leave with 240 kilograms (530 lb) items such as equipment and other things related to their scientific experiments.
This could include some of the space-grown chili peppers the team collected last week. The rest was eaten by the crew, including “the finest space tacos,” according to MacArthur.
“They have a nice spice, a bit of a stubborn burn,” she said. “Some were more troublesome than others.”
Let’s hope the chili peppers have already gone through their bodies, because it sounds like a zesty trip back to the diaper.