No more leaks? SpaceX tells astronauts to limit use of toilet after urine leaks

WION Web Team
Florida, United States Published: Oct 31, 2021, 08:07 PM(IST)

SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour Photograph:( AFP )

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These astronauts had left for the space station in April and are scheduled to return back to Earth on November 04 off the Florida coast

It may be a rare chance where an astronaut has had to worry about exploring "other means" to dispose their bodily fluids while in space.

In a rare order, all astronauts aboard the SpaceX endeavour have been asked to limit the use of the toilet facility made available to them in the craft while they return to the Earth.

"Our intent is to not use the system at all for the return leg home because of what we've seen with the fluids we are talking about," NASA's Commercial Crew program manager, Steve Stitch said on Friday. "We have other means to allow the crew to perform the functions they need to do."

Also read | Bathroom bother! SpaceX aims to fix leaking toilets before launch

Those other means talked about in the statement by Stich is an undergarment designed for waste management that astronauts can use to relieve themselves in their space suits while on a mission such as landing, spacewalks or launches.

SpaceX's Dragon crew has faced the problem of leaky bathroom as urine had accumulated beneath the floor panels. "Anytime the crew is suited they use an undergarment in that suit, and it's a short mission coming home," Stitch explained. "So, it's pretty typical to have an undergarment on and they can use that on the way home."

NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Meghan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency have been asked to use that same undergarment when their spacecraft heads back to the Earth.

These astronauts had left for the space station in April and are scheduled to return back to Earth on November 04 off the Florida coast. However, their return date might change as the launch date of the Crew-2’s relief mission, Crew-3, has been delayed due to bad weather conditions.

This has come a little after SpaceX had claimed that the problem has been fixed the problem, for now, but need to make sure it is completely gone. "We've fixed this problem in the tank by essentially making it an all-welded structure, with no longer a joint in there that can come unglued and become disconnected," William Gerstenmaier, a SpaceX vice-president said.

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