Space station astronauts repaired a broken toilet in the U.S Destiny laboratory today, avoiding a potentially messy situation. With the shuttle-space station complex currently home to a record combined crew of 13 astronauts and cosmonauts, fixing the toilet was of utmost importance. ISS crew members Gennady Padalka and Frank De Winne were told to don safety goggles and protective gear before opening the toilet’s access panels. They replaced a half-dozen components during work Sunday and Monday repairing the defective toilet with spare parts on the orbiting outpost.
While toilet repairs were going on, shuttle astronauts David Wolf and Thomas Marshburn completed the second spacewalk of the STS-127 mission, during a day filled with remembrances and tributes to the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The two astronauts transferred a spare KU-band antenna to long-term storage on the space station, along with a backup coolant system pump module and a spare drive motor for the station’s robot arm transporter. Installation of a television camera on the Japanese Exposed Facility experiment platform was deferred to a later spacewalk. This was the second of five STS-127 spacewalks, the 127th in support of International Space Station assembly and maintenance.
The STS-127 mission spacwalks will complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory.
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The ISS has two toilets for its six-person crew, the one that malfunctioned in Destiny and another in the Russian Zvezda command module. The space shuttle Endeavour also is equipped with a toilet.
After tests to make sure the toilet was operating properly, flight controllers cleared the combined 13-member shuttle-station crew to resume normal use.
“The US Destiny lab toilet has been repaired and checked out. The crew has been given a “go” to use it. All three toilets are working,” NASA said in a post on Twitter.