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No S—! ISS Astronauts to Boldly Go on New Toilet

26 Sep 2020, 12:53 UTC
No S—! ISS Astronauts to Boldly Go on New Toilet
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Credit: NASA

“Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee!”— NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — It’s the space-age old question: how do astronauts go to the bathroom in space? The most basic human biological processes becomes challenging off-planet due in part to the lack of gravity. NASA is launching a new space toilet, the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), to the International Space Station on Northrop Grumman’s 14th contract resupply mission in September. Another UWMS unit will be installed in Orion for the Artemis II flight test that will send astronauts on a 10-day mission beyond the Moon and back.

The “Universal” in UWMS is key: the central design concept can be easily integrated into different spacecraft and life support systems. On platforms like the space station where astronauts live and work for extended time periods, UWMS will feed pre-treated urine into a regenerative system, which recycles water for further use. For shorter duration missions, like Artemis II, UWMS also works with a system where waste is not pre-treated with chemicals and is simply stored for disposal.

The toilet was designed to address astronaut feedback about comfort and ease of use. It also features a 65% smaller and 40% ...

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