A toilet tube on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft broke and urinates underground on first sightseeing flight

The Crew Dragon Endeavor approaches the International Space Station with astronauts on board, April 24, 2021. NASA

SpaceX’s first cruise program appeared to perform great last month, but there was a problem lurking underground.

This problem was coming from the bathroom – a toilet nestled in the ceiling of the Crew Dragon spaceship, surrounded by the secret of ownership. A tube carrying urine from those toilets broke in an area under the floor of the spaceship’s cabin, releasing its contents onto the ventilator. This fan is used to create suction for the toilet which is essential because when working in microgravity there is no force to pull the waste in one direction. Then the fan sprayed urine all over the hidden compartment.

Although all of this happened in microgravity, the urine did not drift around the cabin. That kept him away from the spacecraft’s four occupants: billionaire Jared Isakman, geologist Dr. Sian Proctor, medical assistant Hayley Arsenault, and engineer Chris Sembrowski. While orbiting Earth for three days on a mission called Inspiration4, they didn’t notice the problem, SpaceX representatives told reporters Monday.

The Inspiration4 crew stands in front of a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft that will launch them into space. Inspiration4 / Jon Krause

“We didn’t really notice, and the crew didn’t even notice, until we came back,” SpaceX official Bill Gerstenmaier said at a press conference Monday. New York times. “When we got the car back, we looked underground and saw that there was pollution under the Inspiration4 floor.”

Isaacman said a mechanical problem with the toilet fan set off an alarm while the Inspiration4 was in orbit, prompting passengers to troubleshoot. CNN Affairs in September. He did not reveal how they solved the problem. When the spacecraft returned to Earth, SpaceX technicians opened the cabin floor to investigate the propeller problem. That’s when they discovered urine leakage.

The story continues

As promised by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk,

toilet system is being upgraded. SpaceX is redesigning the leaky underground Crew Dragon tube for its next launch, which will transport four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend. With the new upgrade, Gerstenmaier said, the tube should not be “unchecked.”

He also pees on the loose in another SpaceX spacecraft

Another Crew Dragon capsule is currently attached to the space station, as is the transfer of four astronauts to the space station in April and we expect to return them to Earth in the coming weeks. But it has the same plumbing system as the leaked capsule.

Crew 2 astronauts during a training session in Hawthorne, California. Left to right: Thomas Bisquet, Megan MacArthur, Shane Kimbrae, and Akihiko Hoshide. Espace X

Fearing the same toilet problems, SpaceX asked astronauts on the space station to place a camera on a cable in the underground urination tube compartment. In fact, they discovered the same problem as Inspiration 4.

“Yes, there was an indication that there was some pollution underground,” Gerstenmaier said.

This could be an even bigger problem for this spacecraft, which has been in Earth orbit for nearly six months and likely carried loose urine the whole time.

After astronauts urinate, this urine mixes with a substance called Oxone, which removes ammonia so it doesn’t build up in the air. But Oxone can be corrosive, so SpaceX is looking into the possibility that the Oxone-pee mixture may have damaged the spacecraft after months of floating under the floor of its cabin.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX Britta Pedersen/Paul/AFP via Getty Images

Gerstenmaier said SpaceX engineers tested this theory in the field, according to The Times, by assembling aluminum parts similar to those in the spacecraft and soaking them in a mixture of oxone and urine. Engineers placed these parts in a chamber that simulated the humidity conditions of the space station. Gerstenmaier said they left them there “for a long time,” but he did not specify for how long.

So far, SpaceX has not found significant corrosion in these samples.

“Fortunately, or on purpose, we chose an aluminum alloy that is not very sensitive to corrosion,” Gerstenmaier said.

He also noted that there was less urine inside the Crew Dragon capsule attached to the International Space Station, where the astronauts remained on the spacecraft for about 24 hours before they departed.

SpaceX field tests are still ongoing.

Gerstenmaier said, according to CNN. “But we’ll be ready to go and make sure the crew gets back safely.”

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