. 24/7 Space News .
NASA's new $23 million space commode system is more than just a toilet
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Jun 7, 2021

Going to the bathroom at the International Space Station is about to get easier and cleaner with a new toilet system that cost NASA $23 million to develop.

Astronauts are connecting and checking out the toilet, which actually is a high-tech improvement to the space station's water recycling system.

The multimillion-dollar budget for the project includes another unit installed inside the Orion space capsule for longer deep-space missions.

"The project is nearing completion after six years of work and is the first U.S.-developed toilet since the shuttle program," Melissa McKinley, NASA's project manager for the new system, said in an email.

"It follows on the lessons learned of the early days of space exploration and aims to improve the experience for the female crew.

"The urine funnel and commode seat were configured along with the commode structure to better suit the female anatomy," she said.

Legacy space systems, including spacesuits and toilets, were designed for men in the early days of space travel. That meant existing toilets had one place for bowel movements and another for urinating. That makes life harder for female astronauts, McKinley said.

NASA considers the new technology, or Universal Waste Management System, to be a demonstration that will provide data to advance the recycling of waste in space.

The weightlessness of space always required using a fan to pull air into space toilets, which moves human waste safely and cleanly into storage. But such toilets have been tricky to maintain and clean in space, NASA said.

The new toilet is smaller, weighs less and was designed for recycling urine, which has become routine on the space station since 2009.

But treating the urine requires strong acid, so the toilet is made partly of corrosion-resistant materials, such as titanium, a "super-alloy" known as elgiloy, Teflon and aluminum, McKinley said.

The seat and funnel also use a smoother design that is easier to clean, she said.

Besides the improved design, the new toilet provides a third bathroom space for the U.S. side of the space station.

"With the increase in Commercial Crew flights and subsequently increased crew size on ISS, availability of a third bathroom means the crew won't have to wait to use the facilities," McKinley said.

Bathrooms on the space station "desperately needed an upgrade," said Pablo de León, a space studies professor at the University of North Dakota who has worked on spacesuit design.

"As we move away from Earth, in long duration missions, the shipment of parts from Earth is more and more difficult, so it is imperative that a space toilet is reliable for long periods of time, without the astronauts having to repair it routinely," de León said.

While the space station recaptures about 90% of water used, the new toilet system may soon allow 98% recycling by removing water from feces, he said, although NASA is not currently experimenting with that.

Installation of the new toilet requires lengthy work sessions to power it up and test it. Astronauts plan to activate it soon, but no date has been set, NASA said.

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Roscosmos Chief invites NASA Counterpart to Russia to discuss space cooperation
Moscow (Sputnik) May 27, 2021
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian state space agency Roscosmos, announced on Tuesday that he invited the newly appointed head of NASA, Bill Nelson, to visit Russia to discuss cooperation in space. "The new head of NASA, Mr. Nelson, is a respected and honored person and specialist. I will be glad to meet him. We have already invited him to Russia and are ready to discuss openly and constructively all issues of our cooperation in space," Rogozin posted on Twitter. The response came following ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA's new $23 million space commode system is more than just a toilet

China accuses US of 'paranoid delusion' over huge innovation bill

TikToker in space: Virgin Galactic to send up well-known researcher

Amazon's Jeff Bezos to go to space on Blue Origin rocket

Scientists identify distinctive deep infrasound rumbles of space launches

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches cargo to space station

Launch of competition for young people to help make UK spaceflight history

SpaceX's night-time launch sends SiriusXM satellite into orbit

ExoMars rover twin begins Earth-based mission in 'Mars Terrain Simulator'

A new water treatment technology could also help Mars explorers

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity flies for 7th time

Perseverance Rover Begins Its First Science Campaign on Mars

Manned space mission preps for takeoff

Tianzhou 2 docks with China's new station core module

Spacewalks planned for Shenzhou missions

China cargo craft docks with space station module

Kleos Polar Vigilance Mission Satellites dispatched to Cape Canaveral for Launch

GomSpace wins contract to develop satellites for global air traffic management consortium

GMV supplies operations centre for the new generation of Yahsat satellites

European space program seeks first disabled astronaut

New spacecraft will use lasers to transmit video, data in seconds

New connector for sustainable structures on Earth and in space

Radiation-hardened MOSFET qualified for commercial and military satellites and space power solutions

SpaceChain to test On-orbit Ethereum Multisignature Transaction Services on ISS

Liquid water on exomoons of free-floating planets

Scientists discover new exoplanet with an atmosphere ripe for study

Did heat from impacts on asteroids provide the ingredients for life on Earth?

Frozen rotifer reanimated after 24,000 years in the Arctic tundra

First images of Ganymede as Juno sailed by

Leiden astronomers calculate genesis of Oort cloud in chronologically order

NASA's Juno to get a close look at Jupiter's Moon Ganymede

Jupiter antenna that came in from the cold

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.