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The ISS is Getting a New WC

Every house wishes renovations after a couple of a long time, and the International Space Station isn’t any other. This fall, they’ll be getting a brand new Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), aka a brand new rest room.

Though the scoop coincides with larger site visitors to the ISS, this transfer stems from a extra severe factor with bacterial contamination all over longer-term area go back and forth. Today’s ISS bathrooms already recycle urine again into potable water and scrub the air reclaimed from cast waste because it will get compacted and saved. The new UWMS will act extra like a meals dehydrator, lowering the water content material up to conceivable to save lots of on area, and petrifying the poo to inactivate the micro organism.

The present commode at the American facet of the ISS was once designed within the 1990s and is in line with the Space Shuttle’s amenities. It has a funnel with a hose for urine and a bag-lined canister with a seat for cast waste, either one of which can be closely vacuum-assisted.

Though the present rest room nonetheless does the entirety it’s meant to do, there’s room for development. For example, ladies to find it tough to have interaction each portions of the device on the identical time, and virtually everybody prefers the toe bars at the Russian rest room to the extra encumbering thigh bars at the American throne. Also, the present commode’s interface is extra sophisticated than it must be, which takes up treasured team time.

Check out that cheek cleaver! Via NASA (PDF)

The maximum intimate exchange is most certainly the seat design. In a weightless setting, it’s extra like a soaring zone than a throne. According to the white paper (PDF), the UWMS seat has homing ridges and “features a tailbone segment to inspire team cheek separation”. Maybe the vacuum works towards separation? We’re no longer certain.

Although the brand new latrine wasn’t designed in particular for the ISS, the team individuals will make superb guinea pigs to check the brand new options. And they don’t must ship it again or the rest — it’ll keep up there till it breaks, or till the ISS is retired, whichever comes first. A 2nd unit is being constructed for the ones longer-term missions and will probably be put in at the Orion pill, which is slated to go back to the Moon in 2024.