NASA is launching a new space toilet at the International Space Station next week for astronauts to test before using it on future missions to the Moon or Mars.
The toilet system 23 millions of dollars, known as the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), East 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the toilet currently used on the space station, and can support larger crews. The toilet will be launched to the space station aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo capsule on 29 September, as part of a routine resupply mission.
Once on the space station, astronauts will test the performance of the new toilets in the station's microgravity environment. The system will be installed next to the current toilet in Node 3 from the space station, Said Melissa McKinley, head of the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics Reduction Project, at a press conference on Thursday 24 September.
The expedition's astronauts 63 Chris Cassidy and Ivan Vagner began preparing for the delivery of the space toilet. The crew will use the orbiting Canadarm2 robotic arm laboratory to capture the Cygnus spacecraft, according to a statement from the space agency.
"The toilet was designed for exploration and builds on the previous space toilet design", McKinley said at the press conference. “The big key to the exploration part of the design is to seek to optimize mass volume and power consumption, which are all very important components in the design of a spacecraft.
An annotated view of NASA's New Universal Waste Management System for the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)
The advanced design of the space toilet includes a urine funnel and seat that are created to be more accommodating for female crew members. It also includes a 3D printed titanium dual fan separator, developed by Collins Aerospace and creating a strong air flow that, instead of gravity, helps suck urine and waste from astronauts down the toilet.
The titanium design also enhances the existing pre-treatment system used to collect and treat astronaut urine before it is treated and recycled for recovery water.
NASA Team Member Demonstrates Lifting Urine Hose From Cradled Position Just Like A Crew Member Using It. A funnel (not illustrated) would be attached to the open end of this hose and would be easily replaced or removed for disinfection. (Image credit: NASA)
The UWMS measures approximately 71 centimeters high, which is comparable to the compact toilets used on campers, McKinley said at the conference. The toilets also have an automatic start system, rather than a switch on / stop like the current toilet models on space station.
The new system will be used regularly by the space station crew and tested over the next three years to make sure everything works as expected. Before its launch, the system has been tested in environments designed to simulate that of the space station, NASA officials said.
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NASA, International Space Station, Space debris, Astronaut
World news – FR – The new spatial toilet of 23 million dollar NASA is ready to launch