WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- NASA plans to launch a new $23 million toilet to the International Space Station.
- The newly designed toilet is supposedly designed to make it easier for female astronauts to go to the toilet.
- One of the toilet’s functions is to reroute urine to be recycled, so the water can be used again in the station.
For the first time since the early 1990s, NASA has ordered a new toilet for the International Space Station. The new toilet design, called the Universal Waste Management System, costs around $23 million and is 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the current toilet in the space station.
It was designed specifically based on astronauts’ feedback. No gravity in space means airflow is needed to make sure urine and feces are pulled away from the body into the proper receptacles. A specially shaped funnel and hose direct urine, while feces is directed using the seat.
The new design makes use of foot restraints and handholds instead of thigh straps, it’s also now possible to use the funnel and seat at the same time. This reflects the feedback from female astronauts.
Also, the new toilet will collect and redirect urine into a regenerative system that recycles the water to be reused.
Around 90% of all water-based liquids on the station are recycled, “including urine and sweat” according to astronaut Jessica Meir.
The system’s goal is to mimic the elements of the Earth’s natural water cycle. “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee!”
The Associated Press said the titanium toilet was supposed to be launched to the ISS on Thursday night from Wallops Island, Virginia. However, it was aborted two minutes before lift-off and rescheduled for Friday night.
After the first UWMS is launched for the ISS, NASA says a second unit will make its way to Orion to be installed for the Artemis II flight test.