NASA astronauts to wear diapers on ISS return trip due to broken toilet

NASA astronauts to wear diapers on ISS return trip due to broken toilet

Astronauts due to leave the International Space Station this weekend will have to wear diapers on the way home because of their capsule’s broken toilet.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation as “sub-optimal” but manageable on Friday.

The return trip can take up to 20 hours.

“Space flights are filled with many little challenges,” Ms. McArthur said at a press conference from orbit. “This is just one more we will meet and take care of during our mission. So we’re not too worried about it. “

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet told reporters the past six months have been intense in space. The astronauts carried out a series of spacewalks to improve the station’s electrical grid, suffered inadvertent thruster fire from docked Russian vehicles which sent the station into brief tours and hosted a film crew. Russian – a space station first.

Left to right: NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide and Megan McArthur pose with chili peppers grown aboard the International Space Station

They also had to deal with the toilet leak and shoot panels into their SpaceX capsule and discover puddles of urine.

The problem was first seen during the craft’s private flight in September, when a tube came off and spilled liquid under the floor.

SpaceX repaired the toilet on the capsule awaiting takeoff, but found the one in orbit unusable.

Engineers determined that the capsule had not been structurally compromised by urine and was safe for return.

On the culinary side, the astronauts grew the first peppers in space – “a good boost,” according to McArthur.

They got to taste their harvest last week, adding chunks of green and red peppers to the tacos.

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“They have a good spiciness, a bit of a lingering burn,” she said. “Some found it more embarrassing than others. “

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide are also back with Ms. McArthur and Mr. Pesquet.

SpaceX launched them to the space station on April 23.

Their capsule is certified for up to 210 days in space, and with Friday marking their 196th day at altitude, NASA is eager to retrieve them as soon as possible.

An American and two Russians will remain on the space station after they leave.

Under normal circumstances, a flight with their replacements would arrive first – to share advice on life in space – but Kimbrough said the remaining NASA astronaut would replace the new arrivals.


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