According to the report, while the 10 astronauts at the International Space Station undertook the painful chore of unpacking tons of supplies delivered by NASA's space shuttle Atlantis, one astronaut Ron Garan had the messy duty of repairing the space station's zero gravity potty. After a six and a half hour outing on Wednesday that marked the final spacewalk ever to be performed during a NASA shuttle mission, Garan switched his spacewalking gear to don plumbing boots.
Commenting on the irony of the situation Mike Fossum told reporters that one of the greatest things about spaceflight, was that, One day you're outside spacewalking, doing the most outrageous things the humans have ever done. The next day you're fixing toilets and unpacking boxes.
Fox News also reported that Fossum himself had spent the day moving supply containers out of a bus-size cargo pod delivered to the station earlier this week by the four astronauts flying aboard Atlantis. The flight is NASA's final shuttle mission before the agency retires the 30-year program later this year.
Chris Edelen, lead space station flight director told reporters that such tasks were also part and parcel of astronauts lives.
According to the astronauts the foul smell had actually dissipated on Wednesday when they were completing their spacewalk. However the station crew replaced some of the older parts of the toilet as the station was to play host to Atlantis' four-astronaut crew.
We want to be good hosts and have a toilet there that works, Edelen said, adding that the system is now fully operational. We even invited the shuttle crewmembers to use it if they need to.
The station has two toilets, one on the Russian side in the Zvezda service module and the other based in the U.S. segment and like toilets on Earth they require regular maintenance.