This new device will be shipped by NASA's commercial cargo supplier Northrop Grumman with the launch on October 1 of its 14th International Space Station resupply mission.
Remember in 2016, barely arrived in the international space station, Thomas Pesquet, the French astronaut had improvised plumber and had to get down to repairing the toilets ...
Earlier in 2008, those same toilets had broken down but the crew was unable to repair the faulty part.
They had to use disposable packaging while waiting for the replacement part delivered later by the Discovery shuttle…
Indeed, even if it is not part of the imagination of the space, the toilets are nevertheless essential components.
A subject that has preoccupied NASA for many years.
For the anecdote, in 2016, the American Space Agency even appealed to the ingenuity of earthlings by launching the Space Poop Challenge (the poop contest in space).
In three months, more than 20,000 participations had been recorded.
Several projects had rewarded with a check totaling $ 30,000.
The waste is then sucked by a titanium fan
For these new toilets, the development cost by NASA engineers is estimated at $ 23 million.
They are much more compact than the old ones since they are 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the model currently in place in the ISS.
For the comfort of astronauts, this new system includes footrests and handles to prevent astronauts from floating away at the fateful moment.
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The toilets have also been planned to be more practical for women since they now have a seat.
All the waste is then sucked up by a titanium fan.
A suction system which will henceforth be automatic and will no longer have to be triggered by the astronaut.
After being collected, the urine will be treated and then collected in order to be recycled into water directly on board.
Note that feces are stored in containers returned to Earth for evaluation.
Toilet paper, wipes will always be thrown in waterproof bags before being sent back to Earth.
This new device will be tested for three years, while keeping the old toilets in parallel, until the dismantling of the ISS, which should begin in 2024. These toilets could then be used for missions to Mars or future stations on the Moon .