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Astronauts deal with flooded toilet in orbit

The bathroom lines at the already crowded space shuttle and space station complex got a lot longer because of a flooded toilet. Mission Control advised the astronauts to hang an 'out of service' sign on the toilet until it could be fixed. In the meantime, the six space station residents had to get in line to use their one good toilet.

world Updated: Jul 20, 2009 09:36 IST

The bathroom lines at the already crowded space shuttle and space station complex got a lot longer today because of a flooded toilet.

One of two commodes aboard the international space station malfunctioned, right in the middle of complicated robotic work being conducted by the two crews. The pump separator apparently flooded.

Mission Control advised the astronauts to hang an “out of service” sign on the toilet until it could be fixed. In the meantime, the six space station residents had to get in line to use their one good toilet.

And Endeavour’s seven astronauts were restricted to the shuttle bathroom.

There have never been so many people -- 13 -- together in space.

The toilet repair work fell to Belgian Frank De Winne, who had to don goggles, gloves and a mask.

Flight director Brian Smith declined to speculate whether overuse caused the toilet trouble.