The private space flight, SpaceX, completed a historic mission with the first all-civilian flight crew last weekend. The four members of the Inspiration4 crew raised $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and helped prove SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s belief that non-professional astronauts can venture into space in regularity.
Every successful mission has its learning moments, however. One key takeaway from a three-day trip in space: Spacecraft bathrooms aren’t ideal whatsoever.
In responding to followers asking about the mission, Musk tweeted Monday night that the Inspiration4 crew had some difficulties with the bathroom and promised upgrades for future missions.
“Definitely upgraded toilets :) We had some challenges with it this flight,” Musk tweeted. The billionaire also promised better WiFi and oven.
While Musk didn’t elaborate (for which we’ll thank him), Inspiration4 member Jared Isaacman told Insider in July the facilities were located near the spacecraft’s large cupola window.
“It’s not a ton of privacy,” he said. “But you do have this kind of privacy curtain that cuts across the top of the spacecraft, so you can kind of separate yourself from everyone else.”
A space toilet or zero gravity toilet can be challenging because of the weightless environment. In the absence of weight, the collection and retention of liquid and solid waste must be directed by use of airflow. NASA put out a tutorial last year on how to use a toilet in space.
The International Space Station received a toilet upgrade earlier this year, with European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet describing the challenges as “let’s just say that the only advantage is the view.”
Inspiration4 spent three days in space hovering above Earth before splashing down on Saturday. With the all-civilian crew, the mission featured the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot, the youngest American to become an astronaut to date, and the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis.
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Elon Musk says Inspiration4 crew had ‘challenges’ with toilet, vows for bathroom upgrades (2021, September 23)
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