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27 Nov, 2019 10:37

Rage against the latrine: BOTH toilets on ISS reportedly broken down

Rage against the latrine: BOTH toilets on ISS reportedly broken down

In what can only be described as a complete disaster, both $19,000 Russian-made toilets on board the ISS are out of order. Thankfully, the crew have a supply of emergency diapers but they may not need them just yet...

UPDATE: The malfunctioning toilet in the US section was swiftly fixed as it only needed a separator replaced, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday. As for the lavatory in the Russian zone, reports that it was broken were incorrect in the first place, the agency added.

Earlier, International Space Station (ISS) commander Luca Parmitano reportedly stated that the toilet in the US section constantly shows it’s out of order, while the Russian one is full to the brim. Not ideal when you’re trapped in a tube in space. 

Luckily for the crew, there are also toilets on board the Soyuz ships docked at the station, and the astronauts have mercifully been cleared to use them while repairs are underway on the ISS bathrooms.

“Tonight, the automated [sewage and sanitary] control system on the ISS US segment failed,” Roscosmos said on Wednesday. Ground control have since said that the US module toilet is functioning again. 

For those with a morbid curiosity, here is how going to the loo works 408km (235 miles) above the Earth. 

Astronauts pee into a special funnel equipped with a fan that suctions their urine away, to prevent it from splashing around the gravity-free station. It is then recycled over a period of eight days, after which time roughly 80 to 85 percent of it becomes potable once more.

A similar fan-boosted system is used to dispatch ‘number twos’, however, as NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson explained, “After [the toilet storage] starts getting full, you have to put a rubber glove on and pack it down.” Grim work for some of the Earth’s best and brightest.

The solid waste is eventually blasted back towards the Earth, where it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere.

Also on rt.com ‘Blast-off can’t be timed around a period’: MALE cosmonaut in hot water as he explains why fewer Russian FEMALES make it in space

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