SpaceX delays astronauts’ return due to weather – cutting time without a toilet

High wind off the Florida coast prompted SpaceX to delay the return of four astronauts who have been in orbit at the International Space Station since spring.

The good news for the American, French and Japanese astronauts was that their return is now projected to take eight hours rather than a previously scheduled 20.

That means they will have to spend considerably less time wearing and using diapers, because the toilet on their SpaceX capsule is broken.

The astronauts were supposed to leave the space station on Sunday, aiming for splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning. But with gusts exceeding safety limits, SpaceX bumped the departure to Monday afternoon, with a nighttime return to conclude their six-month mission.

SpaceX still is aiming for a Wednesday night launch, at the earliest, for a mission carrying replacements for the returning astronauts. That flight also has been delayed by bad weather, as well as an astronaut’s undisclosed medical issue. The issue, described as minor, should be resolved by launch time, officials said.

Last week, SpaceX and Nasa flipped the order of the launch and landing because of deteriorating weather and a looming deadline to get the capsule back from the space station.

SpaceX capsules are certified for a maximum 210 days in orbit. The one up there now is approaching 200 days.

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