The subsequent astronauts to return to Earth on a SpaceX Dragon will not have the opportunity use an important system on their journey house subsequent month: the space potty.
SpaceX’s rest room on its Crew Dragon Endeavour can be off limits for the 4 Crew-2 mission astronauts as soon as they depart the International Space Station in early November, NASA officers mentioned late Friday (Oct. 29). That’s due to a potential urine leak in the toilet like one seen on SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 flight in September. SpaceX has since redesigned its rest room to keep away from leaks on future flights.
“Our intent is to not use the system at all for the return leg home because of what we’ve seen with the fluids we are talking about,” Steve Stitch, NASA’s Commercial Crew program supervisor, advised reporters Friday in a prelaunch briefing for SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut launch, now set for next week. “We have other means to allow the crew to perform the functions they need.”
Those different means? An “undergarment” for waste administration that astronauts have lengthy used to alleviate themselves when clad in spacesuits for launches, landings or spacewalks.
“Anytime the crew is suited they use an undergarment in that suit, and it’s a short mission coming home,” Steve Stitch mentioned. “So, it’s pretty typical to have an undergarment on and they can use that on the way home.” It’s been a backup for any spaceflight, he added.
The astronauts returning to Earth on the Crew-2 mission are NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Meghan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. They launched to the station in April had been anticipated to return house on Nov. 4 with a splashdown off the Florida coast, NASA officers mentioned late Friday.
That touchdown date could now change after SpaceX and NASA delayed the launch of the Crew-2’s relief mission, Crew-3, till Nov. 2 as a result of unhealthy climate. The Crew-2 astronauts will return after a handover with their incoming crewmates.
Stitch mentioned SpaceX and NASA have labored to shorten the size of time it takes a Dragon crew to return to Earth after leaving the space station.
In August 2020, when SpaceX’s first crewed flight Demo-2 returned to Earth, it took simply over 19 hours for its two-person crew to splashdown after undocking from the station. SpaceX’s restoration staff reached them shortly after they landed. SpaceX’s Crew-1 splashdown on May 2 of this 12 months minimize that point down to only below 6.5 hours. SpaceX restoration groups intention to unload a crew from their capsule inside an hour of splashdown.
“We are working to try to always minimize that time from undocking to landing, so that’s what we’ll do with this flight,” Stitch mentioned.
In the meantime, SpaceX and NASA are centered on the approaching launch of the following astronaut flight to the space station: the Crew-3 mission. That flight, initially scheduled to launch on Oct. 31, is now scheduled to raise off Nov. 3 from Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is at 1:10 a.m. EDT (0510 GMT).
That mission will launch NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer on their very own six-month journey to the space station. They will launch on the Crew Dragon Endurance, a brand new Dragon capsule. The Crew-2’s Endeavour capsule is older and is flying its second crewed mission.
You’ll be capable to watch the Crew-3 launch live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV and SpaceX, beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 8:45 p.m. EDT (0045 GMT).