The toilet fan on SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission malfunctioned

The Inspiration4 crew sits inside a Crew Dragon spaceship model. From left to right: Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux.
  • SpaceX sent four civilians into space in early September as part of the Inspiration4 mission.
  • The crew had a problem with the toilet after the fan inside it malfunctioned, according to a CNN interview.
  • SpaceX staff had to brief them on how to fix it, but they were interrupted by communications outages.
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The world’s first fully civilian astronaut crew faced an unexpected problem when they entered orbit earlier this month: They had to fix the toilet fan after it triggered an alarm.

The Inspiration4 mission took off on September 16, sending four civilian astronauts in orbit for three days aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX mentioned in a tweet on Sept. 21 that the Inspiration4 team had “some challenges” with the toilet, which was located At the tip of the Crew Dragon spaceship inside a domed glass ceiling. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, crew member Jared Isaacman explained what had happened.

Toilets in space have fans to generate suction, ensuring human debris is going in the right direction, but the spacecraft’s fan malfunctioned and set off an alarm, Isaacman said.

Isaacman told CNN that the SpaceX team had to brief the Inspiration4 team on how to fix the fan, but that frequent communication blackouts disrupted the process.

“I would say that probably about 10% of our time in orbit we had no [communication with the ground], and we were a very calm and relaxed team during that, “Isaacman told CNN.

“We were able to get over it and get [the toilet] going even with what were initially challenging circumstances, so there was never anything like, you know, in the cockpit or anything like that, “Isaacman said.

Isaacman said the Inspiration4 team had previously talked to some NASA astronauts about the toilet, and the astronauts told them that “using the bathroom in space is difficult, and you have to be very … what’s the word? – very kind to each other. “

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