After some "challenges" during the Inspiration4 civilian crew's three-day flight orbiting Earth, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he plans to update the toilets on the company's Dragon spacecraft.
After three days in orbit cruising 335 miles above the Earth's surface, the amateur four-person crew landed near Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday evening.
Musk announced on a tweet Monday that he got to speak with the amateur astronauts about their historical mission.
Just met with the @Inspiration4x crew in Florida to congratulate them in person. Such great people!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2021
SpaceX Inspiration4 Toilet Problems: Alarm Started Blaring
First and foremost, SpaceX must repair the toilets. An alarm rang while Jared Isaacman and his three fellow crewmates were free flying through Earth's orbit. It protected the crew from the harsh vacuum of space by nothing more than a 13-foot-wide carbon-fiber capsule.
It's unclear what was wrong with the restrooms, but it wasn't the view.
"Definitely upgraded toilets :) We had some challenges with it this flight," Musk said in a tweet on Monday.
Definitely upgraded toilets :) We had some challenges with it this flight.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2021
The ship's restroom, according to Jared Isaacman, one of the ship's crew members, was located in the ceiling and had an all-glass dome, providing users an unparalleled 360-degree view of the cosmos while doing their business.
In a CNN report, Isaacman said that the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft's systems were notifying the crew of a "serious" issue. They'd spent months analyzing over SpaceX records and training on how to respond to in-space emergencies, so they jumped right in, working with SpaceX ground controllers to figure out what went wrong.
The Crew Dragon, it turned out, was not in danger. The onboard toilet, on the other hand, was not.
SpaceX Inspiration4 Toilet Problem: Blame It On Waste Management System
Going to the restroom, like everything else in space, is difficult. Making sure everything goes down the toilet in a healthy human on Earth is usually a simple matter of aim. However, there is no sense of gravity in space. There's no guarantee that whatever comes out will land exactly where it's supposed to. Waste can - and does - travel in any direction.
Space toilets have fans inside them to create suction, which solves this problem. They essentially remove waste from the human body and store it. And fans of the Crew Dragon's "waste management system" were having mechanical issues. That's what set off the alert for the crew.
CBS said Scott "Kidd" Poteet, an Inspiration4 mission director who oversees the mission on the ground, pointed out the issues with the waste management system.
However, when asked specifically about it on Thursday, Isaacman stated that there were no such difficulties in the cabin.
Other SpaceX Inspiration4 Issues
Elon Musk said in The Independent report that other future enhancements will include a "small oven for heating food." He had already apologized to the crew for the cold pizza and promised that a "food warmer" would be provided." Isaacman claimed the dinner was terrific, and he had no complaints.
"Yeah, a little oven for heating food & Starlink wifi," he tweeted.
Musk also said that the SpaceX would equip the Dragon with a WiFi connection via Starlink satellites. Jared Isaacman explained that Inspiration4's photos were few because the spacecraft only had "so many ground station passes to transmit video," and government entities such as NASA were prioritized using those contacts.
Check out more news and information on SpaceX in Science Times.