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Toilet aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 craft malfunctioned and rained URINE down on spectators

The toilet aboard SpaceX‘s Inspiration4 craft malfunctioned during the crew’s three-day journey around the Earth last month, causing urine to leak in and outside of the capsule.

William Gerstenmaier, a SpaceX vice president who used to work for NASA, told the New York Times that not only did bodily fluids collect under the floor of the Resilience  capsule, but it rained down on spectators watching the craft return to Earth.

‘We didn’t really even notice it, the crew didn’t even notice it, until we got back,’ Gerstenmaier said.

‘When we got the vehicle back, we looked under the floor and saw the fact that there was contamination underneath the floor of Inspiration4.’

Urine began leaking from the toilet when a tube came unplug and pooled beneath the floor panels. 

SpaceX has since fixed the issue by welding on a urine-flushing tube to the toilet and NASA is expected to sign off on the new design on Friday. 

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The toilet aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 craft malfunctioned during the crew’s three-day journey around the Earth last month, causing urine to leak in and outside of the capsule. The toilet is located on top of the capsule

 The Elon Musk-led company is using the same toilet design for Sunday’s Crew-3 mission that is taking a new batch of astronauts to the International Space Station.

While the Crew-3 mission will be using a different capsule — recently named ‘Endurance’ — its toilet system shares a design with that of the Resilience capsule.   

Shortly after Inspiration4, which included Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor, Haley Arceneaux and Christopher Sembroski, arrived back on Earth, reports surfaced that an alarm went off while the four were in orbit, CNN reports. 

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft’s systems warned the crew of a ‘significant’ issue, Isaacman said.

Urine began leaking from the toilet when a tube came unplug and pooled beneath the floor panels. SpaceX has since fixed the issue by welding on a urine-flushing tube to the toilet and NASA is expected to sign off on the new design on Friday

Urine began leaking from the toilet when a tube came unplug and pooled beneath the floor panels. SpaceX has since fixed the issue by welding on a urine-flushing tube to the toilet and NASA is expected to sign off on the new design on Friday

Shortly after Inspiration4, which included Jared Isaacman (left), Sian Proctor (right), Haley Arceneaux (2nd left) and Christopher Sembroski (2nd right), arrived back on Earth reports surfaced that an alarm went off while the four were in orbit - and the alarm was due to a malfunctioning toilet

Shortly after Inspiration4, which included Jared Isaacman (left), Sian Proctor (right), Haley Arceneaux (2nd left) and Christopher Sembroski (2nd right), arrived back on Earth reports surfaced that an alarm went off while the four were in orbit – and the alarm was due to a malfunctioning toilet

The issue ended up being a malfunctioning toilet, but it was not identified until after the crew’s return.

The flaw in the original toilet plumbing may also affect the Endeavour capsule which flew SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission to the ISS back in late April this year.  

However, astronauts have reported that an examination of the capsule has shown no signs of leaks — which would be visible in the form of corrosion brought about by a chemical SpaceX’s waste system uses to remove ammonia from urine.

The Endeavour capsule is presently docked with the orbiting laboratory and scheduled to depart on November 4. 

The Elon Musk-owned company is using the same toilet design for Sunday's Crew-3 mission that is taking a new batch of astronauts to the International Space Station. Pictured European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, of Germany, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron

 The Elon Musk-owned company is using the same toilet design for Sunday’s Crew-3 mission that is taking a new batch of astronauts to the International Space Station. Pictured European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, of Germany, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to blastoff at 2:21am ET from Kennedy Space Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Pictured is the rocket rolling out to the hanger ahead of Sunday's launch

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to blastoff at 2:21am ET from Kennedy Space Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Pictured is the rocket rolling out to the hanger ahead of Sunday’s launch

It is likely that the capsule will require upgrading on its return to Earth. 

The toilet design seems to be fixed, allowing the Endurance capsule to launch on October 31.

This will be SpaceX’s fourth launch of NASA astronauts and its fifth passenger flight overall.

The upcoming mission, dubbed Crew-3, will transport NASA’s Raja Chari (the mission commander), Tom Mashburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency to the ISS for a six month stay.

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to blastoff at 2:21am ET from Kennedy Space Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.


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