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ISS Astronauts Take Delivery of a Brand New Space Toilet

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The International Space Station received its latest delivery of food, tools, and experiments on Monday. It also included a brand new space toilet.

The cargo arrived on the Cygnus spacecraft after launching the previous day aboard Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner used the space station’s robotic arm to assist in the docking procedure 261 miles (420 km) above the South Pacific Ocean, with the procedure finishing at around 8 a.m. ET.

Cygnus, which is also called SS Kalpana Chawla after the first astronaut of Indian origin launched to space but who sadly died in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, will stay docked at the ISS for the next three months.

Cassidy, Vagner, and the third space station inhabitant, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, wasted no time in unloading Cygnus, with Cassidy tweeting his delight at receiving some fresh edibles from the team back on Earth.

“The best thing about a cargo ship arriving is getting some fresh food,” Cassidy wrote a post that included several photos of what appeared to be apples and oranges.

With today’s food becoming tomorrow’s flushable waste, attention will inevitably turn to the brand new toilet that also arrived as part of the cargo. The so-called Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) was designed in response to feedback from astronauts, and so should provide a more comfortable experience when nature calls.

It’s smaller and lighter than previous designs, and features improved integration with other components of the station’s water system that will help recycle more urine for astronauts to drink — though only after it’s been properly filtered and processed, of course.

In microgravity

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Cargo Spacecraft Carrying New Toilet to ISS Finally Launches

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After several scrubbed attempts, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket has taken off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, launching an uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a total of 8,000 pounds of crew supplies and science experiments for the ISS.

The mission had been expected to originally launch on Tuesday, September 29, but this had to be pushed back due to unfavorable weather conditions. The new launch date was set for Thursday, October 1, and the rocket was fueled and ready to go but was then scrubbed again after an issue with ground support equipment. The launch was pushed back once more to late on Friday, October 2, and this time the launch went ahead as planned at 9:16 p.m. ET.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus spacecraft with 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus spacecraft with 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments. NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

The Antares rocket made it safely into orbit and the Cygnus spacecraft deployed its solar array successfully. The craft is now traveling toward the space station, where it is expected to arrive at 5:20 a.m. ET on Monday, October 5. It will be captured using the station’s robotic arm, controlled by NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy, from where it will be installed onto the station’s Unity module.

Included on the Cygnus are a new crop of radishes to be grown in the microgravity of the space station in order to learn more about how plants grow in space and to provide more nutritious and fresh food for astronauts in the future, an investigation into drugs used to treat leukemia which could be made

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NASA launches new $23 million space toilet to ISS. It should arrive Monday

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spacetoilet1

This unusual-looking space toilet will be tested by the astronauts on ISS.


NASA

A recently designed space toilet that better accommodates women is headed to the International Space Station. The new loo was packed inside a cargo ship that successfully blasted off Friday evening at 6:16 p.m. PT from  NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The astronauts will give the toilet a test run for the next few months.

Weighing almost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and measuring 28 inches (71 centimeters) tall, the new toilet is about half as big as the two Russian-built toilets already in use at the ISS. This new toilet is 65% smaller and almost half as light than current ISS toilets in use.

The new, smaller toilet will be able to fit into the NASA Orion capsules, which will travel to the moon in future missions.

As previously reported, the new toilet is designed with a tilted seat, new shape and redesigned funnels for urination.

spacetoilet2

Here’s a closer look at the new space toilet that will be used on the ISS.


NASA

The microgravity toilets used on the ISS use suction to keep waste from escaping during a potty break in space, but the new system has a new shape to better fit female anatomy. The toilet is also better suited to capture more waste than before. 

“Cleaning up a mess is a big deal. We don’t want any misses or escapes,” Johnson Space Center project manager Melissa McKinley told The Guardian. “Let’s just say everything floats in weightlessness.”

The new toilet system also has a lower mass than prior systems, is simpler to use, provides increased crew comfort and

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NASA set to launch new $23 million space toilet to the ISS Friday night

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A recently designed space toilet that better accommodates women is headed to the International Space Station. The new loo was packed inside a cargo ship set to blast off late Thursday from NASA’s flight facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, though technical difficulties delayed the launch until Friday evening. The astronauts will give the toilet a test run for the next few months.



This unusual-looking space toilet will be tested by the astronauts on ISS. NASA


© Provided by CNET
This unusual-looking space toilet will be tested by the astronauts on ISS. NASA



Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shows off the hose on the current toilet for when you need to pee. 


© Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shows off the hose on the current toilet for when you need to pee. 


Weighing almost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and measuring 28 inches (71 centimeters) tall, the new toilet is about half as big as the two Russian-built toilets already in use at the ISS. This new toilet is 65% smaller and almost half as light than current ISS toilets in use.

The new, smaller toilet will be able to fit into the NASA Orion capsules, which will travel to the moon in future missions.

As previously reported, the new toilet is designed with a tilted seat, new shape and redesigned funnels for urination.



diagram, engineering drawing: Here's a closer look at the new space toilet that will be used on the ISS. NASA


© Provided by CNET
Here’s a closer look at the new space toilet that will be used on the ISS. NASA

The microgravity toilets used on the ISS use suction to keep waste from escaping during a potty break in space, but the new system has a new shape to better fit female anatomy. The toilet is also better suited to capture more waste than before. 

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“Cleaning up a mess is a big deal. We don’t want any misses or escapes,” Johnson Space Center project manager Melissa McKinley told The Guardian. “Let’s just say everything floats in weightlessness.”

The new toilet system also has

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NASA finally tracks down air leak on ISS, but it’s not fixed yet

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The ISS has a small but pesky air leak.


NASA

A longstanding space mystery is almost solved. NASA and the ISS crew have been bothered by an air leak first noticed in late 2019. The leak seemed to pick up the pace recently, sending NASA on a hunt to track it down. A new round of tests has finally narrowed down the location.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have conducted a series of tests that involved closing hatches around the station so NASA could monitor the air pressure in each section. Their latest efforts led NASA to the main work area of the Zvezda Service Module.

The Russian-built Zvezda Service Module contains living quarters along with life support, communications and propulsion systems. “Additional work is underway to precisely locate the source of the leak,” NASA said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The space agency emphasized that the leak poses no immediate danger to the crew.

Flight controllers woke up the astronaut and cosmonauts late on Monday night to have them troubleshoot the leak “that appeared to grow in size.” The crew used an ultrasound leak detector to collect data for analysis.

The leak may be more consistent than it first appeared. “The size of the leak identified overnight has since been attributed to a temporary temperature change aboard the station with the overall rate of leak remaining unchanged,” NASA said. 

The crew is back to regular activities, which includes getting ready for a busy October on the ISS. The station will be expecting a new cargo delivery as well as a fresh crew