AX-2 Space Tourists face an embarrassing trouble on the ISS

Last week, the second crew of private space tourists from Axiom Space on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station for an eight-day vacation that would be unforgettable in their lives. But staying in microgravity for some space tourists was not very pleasant. NASA hinted that the crew had difficulties with “hygienic practices”, in other words, using the toilet on the ISS.

Going to the toilet in space can be a serious problem. Illustration:

The current generation of space composters sucks liquid and solid waste into special vacuum tubes. But the astronauts who use them say that the stench from them remains unbearable. Most likely, this particular feature turned out to be a piquant problem for the AX-2 crew.

The crew of AX-2. Photo: Axiom

Unpleasant cases with toilets in space

Using the toilet on Earth depends on gravity, but using the toilet in space has long been a problem for both scientists and astronauts. For example, during the 1969 Apollo 10 mission, the crew had to contend with a “flying unpleasantness” far from Earth. Then, on the way to the Moon, NASA heard in radio conversations how Commander Thomas Stafford immediately demanded a napkin, because “excrement was flying in the air”.

In private space companies, the problem with toilets also remains relevant. SpaceX, for example, recognized in September 2021 that the Inspiration4 mission faced a waste disposal problem. Only a month after that, SpaceX shared the details of the incident: the space toilet, based on two separate vacuum tubes, leaked and sprayed urine under the floor of the spacecraft. Fortunately, the crew did not even notice this contamination.

The last AX-1 mission also did not avoid problems with the toilet. During the reception of the first space tourists in orbit, the toilets on the ISS in the American modules broke down. Therefore, the astronauts asked the Russians to let them use their facilities, as CNN found out

In general, space remains a hostile environment on both large and small scales. No training on Earth can fully prepare space travelers, no matter how prepared they are for the reality of life in orbit. 

Earlier we reported on how Samantha Cristoforetti told us what the ISS smelled like.

According to NASA

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