SpaceX had problems aboard its first cruise. It could have been much worse

Isaacman said the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft systems warned the crew of a “big” problem. They spent months researching SpaceX manuals and training for emergency response in space, so they got down to business, working with SpaceX ground controllers to determine the source of the failure.

It turned out that the Crew Dragon was not in danger. But the toilet was on the plane.

There is nothing easy about the space, including going to the bathroom. In the case of a healthy human being on the floor, making sure that everything ends up in the toilet is usually a matter of simple purpose. But in space there is no sense of gravity. There is no guarantee that what comes out will go… where it is intended. Waste can – and it does – go in all directions.

To solve this problem, there are toilets with fans that are used to create exhaust ventilation. Basically they remove waste from the human body and keep it away.

Fans of the Crew Dragon’s “Waste Management System” had mechanical issues. This caused the alarm that the crew heard.

Scott “Kid” Bottet, the Inspiration4 mission manager who helped oversee the mission from Earth, told reporters about the problem in an interview with CBS. Poteet and SpaceX’s director of crew missions later confirmed “problems” with the waste management system during a press conference, but did not go into details, prompting an immediate wave of speculation that the flaw could be the cause of the catastrophic chaos.

In response to a direct question on Thursday, Isakman said: “I want to be 100 percent clear: There were no cabin problems associated with that.” who who. “

But Isaacman and his comrades on the Inspiration4 mission had to work with SpaceX to solve the problem during their three-day stay in orbit, during which they experienced numerous communication failures, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive crew training regimen.

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“I would probably say we didn’t have about 10% of our time in orbit” [communication with the ground]“We were a very calm and great crew at the time,” he said, adding that “mental toughness, good mental framework, and good attitude” were essential to the mission.

“The psychological aspect is an area where you can’t compromise because…there were obvious circumstances that happened there where if you had someone who didn’t have that mental toughness and you started to act badly, that could have caused that to happen,” Isaac said.

SpaceX did not respond to CNN Business’s requests for comment.

The toilet story also highlights a fundamental truth about humanity and its extraterrestrial ambitions – no matter how polished and shining we may be for our future in space, the biological facts remain.

Trash in space and history

Isaacsen, like many astronauts before him, was shy when it came to discussing “toilet placement.”

“No one really wants to go into the bloody details,” Isakman said. But when the Inspiration4 crew spoke to some NASA astronauts, they said, “Using the bathroom and space is hard, and you have to be good – what’s the word? – terrible” good heart for each other “.

He added that despite the toilet problems on the plane, no one had any accidents or insults.

“I don’t know who coached them, but we were able to get through that and get over it.” [the toilet] Even with the difficult conditions at first, so there was absolutely nothing, you know, in the cabin or something like that.”

However, figuring out how to rest safely in space was a fundamental question asked half a century ago at the dawn of human spaceflight, and the path to answers has not been without flaws.

During the 1969 Apollo 10 mission — in which Thomas Stafford, John Young and Eugene Cernan sailed around the moon — on the sixth day of the mission, Stafford Mission Control reported that a piece of debris was floating in the cabin, according to the Government documents that have been categorized by.
“Give me a quick handkerchief,” Stafford registered As he said a few minutes before Cernan discovered another, “Here’s another silly thing.”
A new toilet designed using astronauts' reactions arrives at the space station
The stool collection process at that time was NASA a report It later turned out that a “very simple” plastic bag was “attached to the buttocks”.
The stool bag system was marginally functional and the crew described it as very ‘tasteless’ a report From 2007 it was later revealed. “The sachets did not provide any odor control in the mini capsule and the smell was outstanding.”
Journalist Mary Roach, author of Mobilizing for Mars, said space latrines have evolved since then, thanks to the painstaking efforts of NASA scientists. NPR in 2010.

“The problem here is that you have this very advanced space toilet and you have to test it. Well, you have to take it to Ellington field and drive it in the gravity simulator – the plane that does that. These detailed arcs up and down – and then you need to find a poor volunteer from the Office of Management System Waste to test it. And I don’t know about you, but I mean to do it on demand in 20 seconds, that’s asking for a lot of a colon now. So it’s very detailed and deceptive.”

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Roach writes in his book Mobilizing for Mars that toilet training astronauts is no laughing matter.

“Simple urination, without gravity, can become a medical emergency requiring catheterization and embarrassing radio consultations with flight surgeons,” she wrote. Since urine behaves differently in the bladder in space, it can be very difficult to know when one should go.

space adjustment

The human body is evolutionarily designed for life on Earth, with its gravity, oxygen-rich air, and predictable environmental cycles. It was not specifically designed to float weightless, a fact that made many astronauts sick, especially during the first two days in orbit.

“I vomited 93 minutes on my first flight,” said NASA astronaut Stephen Smith, a veteran of four space shuttle missions. journalist. “It was the first of 100 times during the four trips. It’s weird to go to a job that you know will make you vomit.”

NASA has an official term for the disease – Space Adaptation Syndrome, which in a research paper estimates that about 80% of astronauts have experienced.

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Isaacman said he did not feel the need to vomit during the Inspiration4 mission. But adjusting to microgravity can be uncomfortable.

“It’s just a gathering in your head, like hanging upside down on your bed,” he told CNN Business. “But you have to find a way to ignore it and work through it… After about a day, there’s a kind of balance that you don’t know much about.”

Not all of his colleagues were so lucky. Hayley Arsenault, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who worked as a medical officer for Inspiration4, had to give injections of Phenergan — an antihistamine used to treat motion sickness to combat nausea, Isaacman said.

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The inescapable truth is that humans will fight disease as long as we keep looking at space and seeing it as the place to go. That’s why many journalists, including Roach, have questioned our tendency to romanticize space travel and downplay the harsh realities and risks.

But despite the annoyance, Isaacman said he has no regrets about his decision to spend nearly $200 million on a three-day spaceflight.

“I hope this serves as a model for future missions,” he said, adding that he believes in SpaceX’s mission to eventually support entire colonies of humans in space.

During his trip, “I felt really energized and energized about the idea that we should keep pushing and moving forward.”

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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