An warning brought SpaceX all-tourist trip to a halt. Fortunately, it was rectified before it became unbearably stinky..
It’s difficult enough to use the restroom on public transportation. It’s a little stressful, whether it’s the possibility of a serpent hissing around the inside of the pan (thanks, Snakes on a Plane) or the shear embarrassment of letting one out and thus stinking up an entire cabin or carriage.
Imagine those concerns as if they were floating above the Earth. Is it possible to poop in space? Obviously, you’d do it if you had to, but could you handle the pressures of ensuring that all of your faeces was sucked away in such an unfamiliar setting? These issues surfaced for a small crew on a SpaceX mission when the toilet stopped working properly.
The crew of #Inspiration4 had an incredible first day in space! They’ve completed more than 15 orbits around planet Earth since liftoff and made full use of the Dragon cupola. pic.twitter.com/StK4BTWSA6
— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) September 17, 2021
On September 16, the world’s first all-civilian astronaut crew launched on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft for a three-day mission called Inspiration4.
Elon Musk tweeted that they were having ‘some issues’ with the toilet, but in a CNN interview, crew member Jared Isaacman has since described what transpired to generate a ‘significant’ issue alarm.
Space toilets use fans to create suction instead of gravity to keep the waste from falling. The spacecraft’s waste management system malfunctioned, causing the alarm to go off.
Obviously, this could have caused an absolutely disgusting mess in the cabin. ‘I want to be 100% clear: there were no issues in the cabin at all as it relates to that,’ Isaacman clarified.
A video over Brazil from first day on orbit. Shot w/iPhone but hopefully we can get some of @inspiration4x Nikon shots out soon. Such a privilege to see our from this perspective. We need to take far better care of our home planet and also reaching for the stars. pic.twitter.com/mAQw6eK8Ui
— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) September 25, 2021
A number of communication blackouts hampered the crew’s problem-solving with ground control, so it’s a good thing they were well-trained.
‘I would guess we had no [contact with the earth] for around 10% of our time in orbit, and we were a very calm, cool crew during that period,’ says the crew. ‘Mental toughness, a good state of mind, and a good attitude,’ Isaacman added, praising the team.
‘The psychological aspect is one area where you can’t compromise because… there were certainly conditions up there where if you had someone who didn’t have the mental toughness and began reacting badly, that could’ve taken the whole mission down,’ he continued.