Musk humiliated as returning SpaceX crew wearing nappies after toilet broke

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The crew, who have been up in space since spring, will have to wear nappies on their way back down to Earth after already having planned return missions delayed. But luckily for the American, French and Japanese astronauts, that their return is now projected to take eight hours rather than a previously scheduled 20. But regarding the nappy situation, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation Friday as “suboptimal”.

During a news conference from orbit, she said: “Spaceflight is full of lots of little challenges.

“This is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission, so we’re not too worried about it.”

Following a number of meetings on Friday, the mission managers made the decision to bring Ms McArthur and the rest of her crew home before launching their replacements.

It came after that same SpaceX launch already saw delays of more than a week because of poor weather conditions and an undisclosed medical issue involving one of the crew members.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who will return with Ms McArthur, told reporters that the past six months have been intense up in space.

The astronauts carried out a series of spacewalks to upgrade the station’s power grid, went through thruster firings by docked Russian vehicles that sent the station into spins, and hosted a private Russian film crew for the first time ever.

And this is not the first malfunction on one of Mr Musk’s projects either.

The crew also had to deal with a toilet leak, pulling up panels in their SpaceX capsule and to stumble upon the horrific sight of pools of urine.

The problem first arose in SpaceX’s private flight in September, when a tube came unglued and the toilet’s contents spilt out under the floorboards.

While SpaceX had fixed the toilet on the capsule awaiting lift-off, the one in orbit is deemed unusable.

While the toilet disaster is clearly a rather unpleasant feature of the SpaceX flight, engineers have said that the structure has not been compromised by the urine and the astronauts should be perfectly safe for the ride back down to Earth.

But embarrassingly for the astronauts, they will have to rely on what NASA describes as absorbent “undergarments”, more commonly known to us as nappies or diapers.

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SpaceX is aiming for a Wednesday night launch at the earliest, for a mission carrying replacements for the returning astronauts.

The astronauts were meant to depart from the space station on Sunday, with a planned splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning.

But with wind exceeding safety limits, SpaceX has pushed back the departure to Monday afternoon.

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