SpaceX has finally fixed the problem that caused astronauts to poop in space. There was speculation that the last time one of its rockets attempted to launch from the Cape, a capsule attached to the shuttle end of the Falcon 9 exploded mid-flight in early 2018.
After the accident, some of SpaceX’s intended passengers began to fear that the issue was out of Elon Musk’s control. Only now, after months of investigating, the actual cause is known — the cause of the accident, is the fact that the SpaceX computers didn’t think there was enough room for the astronauts and the capsule.
Each of SpaceX’s crew capsules, called Crew Dragon, consists of five large computers, carrying all the vital information needed for navigation, docking, life support, emergency escape, electric propulsion, and re-entry. Those computers had failed to support the Crew Dragon capsules after the accident.
Fortunately, that was a mistake.
On Thursday, SpaceX wrote that, “In 2018, the software responsible for onboard computations on the Crew Dragon surface malfunctioned and incorrectly replaced empty systems with full ones.” In other words, the software was set up to give astronauts too much power, leading to a “false sense of safety,” as SpaceX put it.
The Crew Dragon astronauts will now have far more power to control their vehicle when they reach the International Space Station, and SpaceX is confident that the Crew Dragon will achieve its initial goal of sending humans to Mars.