In what is sure to become an international incident of astronomical proportions Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are complaining to their ground crew at the Baikonur Space Control that American astronauts are refusing to let them use the American toilet aboard the ISS.
"Sometimes ours works, sometimes it doesn't," said cosmonaut Yuri Constipatin who has been a member of the Station crew for 164 agonizing days. "The Americans have teamed up with the other international members of the crew and erected a velcro barrier around their facilities."
The difficulty seems to have started when the Russian Space Agency GASS began charging NASA to transport everyday necessities, such as air freshener, to the ISS aboard their Soyuz space craft launched from Asia. GASS administrator Ilya Kulyakin was quoted as saying, "The downturn in the global economy has been especially hard on our ability to supply and repair the Russian "Krappta" portion of the International Space Station. Charging the Americans for transport was the only solution we had, other than providing billionaires with space vacations."
When questioned on the truth of these claims Houston Control supervisor Colin Block replied, "The cosmonauts refuse to eat American food provided aboard the ISS, such as our traditional Tang-flavored Spamdingers, a favorite with astronauts since the Apollo 13 mission. They bring their own garlicked herring rolls and candied cheese figs. No wonder their Soviet-designed waste system can't keep up!" The Russians deny any claims that their traditional diet is deleterious to the international atmosphere that exists aboard the station.
What will be the final outcome for this cosmic conundrum? Will it all work out in the end for the ISS occupants or will a lack of diplomatic digestion of this difficulty result in a complete blockage of all future orbital progress? Only time, and the on-board methane gas detectors, will tell.