SpaceX needs to tame toilet trouble before weekend launch

·1 min read

SPACEX is taming some toilet troubles in its Dragon capsules before launching four more astronauts.

The company and NASA want to make sure any toilet leaks won’t compromise the capsule launching early Sunday from Kennedy Space Center or another one that’s been parked at the International Space Station since April.

During SpaceX’s first private flight last month, a tube came unglued, spilling urine onto fans and beneath the floor, said William Gerstenmaier, a SpaceX vice president who used to work for NASA. The same problem was recently discovered inside the Dragon capsule at the space station, he told reporters Oct. 25.

As a permanent fix, SpaceX has welded on the urine-flushing tube that’s inside the company’s newest capsule, named Endurance by its U.S.-German crew. NASA isn’t quite finished reviewing the last-minute fix.

NASA astronaut Raja Chari, the spacecraft commander, said Tuesday that he has “complete confidence” in the repairs. SpaceX jumped quickly on the issue, he noted, with hundreds of people working on it to ensure the crew’s safety.

This will be SpaceX’s fourth launch of NASA astronauts and its fifth passenger flight overall. NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing to transport crews to and from the space station, following the retirement of the shuttle fleet in 2011. U.S. astronauts hitched rides on Russian rockets until SpaceX took over the job last year. (AP)

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