A leaky toilet on board the International Space Station has caused almost 10 litres of liquid to spill into the zero gravity environment, Nasa has revealed.

The issue occurred when the ISS crew were installing a new double stall enclosure, designed to improve privacy for astronauts using the space station's toilet system.

While detaching the Quick Disconnect module, 9.5 litres of water sprayed out of the toilet in the station's Tranquility section. A Nasa status report of the incident revealed that the crew used towels to mop up the floating mess aboard the ISS.

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"The crew successfully installed a new double stall enclosure within Node 3 today," the report stated.

"During the activity, the crew experienced a water leak while de-mating a Quick Disconnect (QD) for the potable water bus. Approximately 9.5 liters leaked before the bus was isolated by MCC-H flight controllers. The crew worked quickly to re-mate the leaky QD and soak up the water with towels."

The new enclosure was installed ahead of the arrival of the Universal Waste Management System, set to be installed aboard the ISS early next year to replace the existing ISS Waste Collection System.

"Astronauts detached a connection point to the potable water system and about two-and-a-half gallons of water leaked from the system. As anyone who has worked on plumbing in their own home knows, these types of things sometimes happen," a NASA spokesperson said.

"Flight controllers evaluated the module's systems and didn't find any damage after the water was cleaned up. Astronauts then finished installing the new double stall enclosure in preparation for a new toilet system to be delivered to the space station in 2020."

In December, the ISS crew was forced to deal with a mysterious hole that appeared on the outside of the orbiting lab.

One member of the crew suggested the strange gap was caused by someone drilling a hole in the space station from the inside.

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