SpaceX’s Dragon space toilet is off limits for astronauts returning to Earth soon

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour (bottom center) and a visiting uncrewed Cargo Dragon supply ship (foreground), are seen docked at the International Space Station’s Harmony module in September 2021.(Image credit: NASA)

The next astronauts to return to Earth on a SpaceX Dragon won’t be able use a crucial system on their trip home next month: the space potty.

SpaceX’s toilet on its Crew Dragon Endeavour will be off limits for the four Crew-2 mission astronauts once they leave the International Space Station in early November, NASA officials said late Friday (Oct. 29). That’s because of a possible urine leak in the toilet like one seen on SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 flight in September. SpaceX has since redesigned its toilet to avoid leaks on future flights.

“Our intent is to not use the system at all for the return leg home because of what we’ve seen with the fluids we are talking about,” Steve Stitch, NASA’s Commercial Crew program manager, told reporters Friday in a prelaunch briefing for SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut launch, now set for next week. “We have other means to allow the crew to perform the functions they need.”

Those other means? An “undergarment” for waste management that astronauts have long used to relieve themselves when clad in spacesuits for launches, landings or spacewalks. 

Source: Space