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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Inspiration4 crew had ‘challenges’ with the toilet, says Elon Musk

Elon Musk also tweeted that the future missions will include a “little oven for heating food and Starlink wifi.”

By: Tech Desk | Kochi |
Updated: September 22, 2021 3:11:03 pm
spacex launch international4 mission civilian flightA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at Cape Canaveral, Fla., with all private citizens aboard. (Florida Today via AP)

On Saturday, the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission safely splashed down in the Atlantic, completing the three-day first all-civilian flight. “That was a heck of a ride for us,” radioed Jared Isaacman, chief executive of Shift4 Payments Inc and mission “commander” of the flight from inside the capsule moments after splashdown.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted on Monday night that there have been some “challenges” with the toilets and that future missions will have upgraded ones. It was not revealed what the exact problem was.

Musk also tweeted that the future missions will include a “little oven for heating food and Starlink wifi.”

In an interview with Businessinsider in July, Jared Isaacman had shared his thoughts on the toilet: “It’s not a ton of privacy. 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…And that also happens to be where the glass cupola is. So, you know, when people do inevitably have to use the bathroom, they’re going to have one hell of a view.”

Credit: NASA

How do space toilets work?

According to NASA, space toilets use airflow to pull urine and faeces away from the body and into the proper receptacles. NASA had sent a new toilet to the International Space Station last year.

The new toilet called the Universal Waste Management System has an automatic start of airflow when the toilet lid is lifted, which helps control the odour. It featured a 65 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter build than the current space station toilet. NASA said the new toilet has a more ergonomic design and is corrosion-resistant.

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