NASA Solves Problem of Urine Leaks in Toilet Aboard Inspiration4 Spacecraft
© AP Photo / NASAIn this Saturday, April 24, 2021 photo made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station for docking
© AP Photo / NASA
After the first commercial space flight Inspiration4, carried out on a Crew Dragon spacecraft, NASA revealed soon after the capsule was docked with the orbiting laboratory that the toilet on board had a serious breakage. Overloads during the launch tore out the tube from the collection container and urine leaked onto the subfield of the ship.
NASA’s tech specialists have fixed the damaged toilet by welding on a urine-flushing tube to the fixture, but the new design has to be approved by NASA by Friday.
William Gerstenmaier, a SpaceX vice president who used to work for NASA, told the New York Times that SpaceX is conducting tests to make sure the body fluids haven't damaged the orbital capsule.
The tests will be completed by the end of this week as the same toilet design is used in the “Endurance” capsule for the Crew-3 mission that prepares for a launch this Sunday.
The engineers are expected to present the results of their examination of the capsule toilet system on Friday. Any structural damage to the capsule could endanger the lives of astronauts during their next mission.
The passengers didn't notice the breakdown during their flight in September and it was discovered when NASA specialists were preparing the capsule for the next mission.
“We didn't really even notice it, the crew didn't even notice it, until we got back,” Gerstenmaier noted. “When we got the vehicle back, we looked under the floor and saw the fact that there was contamination underneath the floor of Inspiration4.”