SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space exploration company, needs to solve problems connected with the capsule bathroom where astronauts travel before launching a new launch: ensure that the urine doesn’t leak again.
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The company and NASA, the US space agency, want to make sure there won’t be any leaks in the bathroom. before the launch scheduled for next Sunday (31) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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On a flight last month, a tube disconnected, and urine hit the fan and pooled below the floor, said SpaceX vice president William Gerstenmaier, who has worked at NASA.
The capsule due to be launched next Sunday presented a similar problem. To solve the problem quickly, SpaceX soldered the tube through which the urine passes, but NASA has not yet evaluated this solution.
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The flight’s commander, NASA astronaut Raja Chari, said he was confident in the repairs. SpaceX has been diligent in solving the problem, he said, and there are hundreds of people working to ensure the safety of astronauts.
Capsule that is in orbit
There’s a SpaceX capsule in space, but on this vehicle there wasn’t much urine build-up below the floor — the biggest problem was in the capsule that circled the planet for three days in September (one of the passengers on that flight was billionaire Jared Isaacman).
The company has been running tests to ensure that the urine won’t damage the capsule over the past six months, Gerstenmaier said — structural damage could put astronauts’ lives at risk.
This will be SpaceX’s fourth launch with NASA astronauts, and the fifth manned.
NASA partnered with SpaceX and Boeing to transport crew to the space station (in 2011, the US space agency retired its fleet, and in subsequent years, Americans hitchhiked on Russian space capsules).
Boeing hasn’t made any launches yet — the company has valve problems.