It's been over four months since SpaceX launched the first all-private crew of space tourists to the International Space Station, as part of space company Axiom Space's Axiom-1 mission.
That means the crew of four wealthy entrepreneurs — and one retired NASA astronaut to babysit them — have had plenty of time to reflect on the once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially when it comes to the pros and cons of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
"Best and Worst of #Ax1?" tweeted mission commander Michael López-Alegría, the aforementioned retired astronaut and who incidentally holds the all time American record for the most number of space walks. "Best — listening to my crewmates seeing Earth for the first time."
"Worst — the bathroom," he added. "No surprise; it's always the bathroom."
SpaceX has had numerous difficulties with the design of its space lavatory on board Crew Dragon.
During the Inspiration4 mission last year, the first-ever all-tourist spaceflight, crew members may have been able to experience one of the best views from the throne ever — but they also had to cope with some seriously unfortunate toilet issues during the mission.
According to officials at the time, a tube that sends urine into a container broke, sending liquid spraying all over an area beneath the spacecraft's floor panels.
SpaceX says that it's subsequently redesigned the mechanism, giving future astronauts — and presumably the crew of Axiom-1 — a little more reassurance.
But that doesn't make the experience of using the bathroom in microgravity any more pleasant. The facilities on board Crew Dragon — which is technically attached to the capsule's ceiling — aren't too dissimilar from the setup you find on board the International Space Station.
Astronauts have to do their business into a funnel attached to a fan that sucks the waste into a container.
In other words, it's the far less enjoyable part of spending time while floating around inside a spacecraft — so López-Alegría's comments don't exactly come as a surprise.
Share This Article