How do you shower on ISS? Astronaut's guide to bathing in orbit (VIDEO)
Samantha Cristoforetti, the first female Italian astronaut, likes to video blog her everyday life in orbit. In her latest video, she takes a shower, and doesn't mind you watching.
As shown in the video, the process is rather similar to what you would do on Earth: water, soap, shampoo, rinse and repeat. Except for the "rinse" part: Samantha explains that the ISS crew use special, no-rinse shampoo. It is necessary due to how water behaves in space: it floats around in balls or sticks to surfaces, making it next to impossible to wash the shampoo off.
The ISS’s water-recycling system does not let a drop go wasted. This is especially important for the crew at this time, as it has been advised to save resources.
In late April, 2.5 tons of supplies for the ISS were lost when the Russian Progress cargo spacecraft entered an uncontrolled spin and went off orbit before it could dock with the station. About a ton of those supplies were replacement elements for the station's life support systems, including water filters.
While the ISS has reserve supplies stocked for just such an event, ground control has now advised the crew to use replaceables until they are completely worn out, just in case. The normal practice is to replace them as soon as the predetermined life cycle has run out.
Despite the hardships of living 400 kilometers above Earth, earthly comforts are not too far away, and Samantha Cristoforetti is an expert on attaining them. On Sunday she managed to brew the first-ever cup of real Italian espresso in space, using a coffee machine that was specially built by Italian coffee and aerospace companies and delivered aboard the Dragon spacecraft.