Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How do the shuttle astronauts go to the bathroom?

Astronaut_flag_wave_united_states_lg_nwmI’m glad you asked:

The WCS (Waste Collection System) consists of a commode, urinal, fan separators, odor and bacteria filter, vacuum vent quick disconnect and waste collection system controls. The commode contains a single multilayer hydrophobic porous bag liner for collecting and storing solid waste. When the commode is in use, it is pressurized, and transport air flow is provided by the fan separator. When the commode is not in use, it is depressurized for solid waste drying and deactivation. The urinal is essentially a funnel attached to a hose and provides the capability to collect and transport liquid waste to the waste water tank. The fan separator provides transport air flow for the liquid. The fan separators separate the waste liquid from the air flow. The liquid is drawn off to the waste water tank, and the air returns to the crew cabin through the odor and bacteria filter. The filter removes odors and bacteria from the air that returns to the cabin. The vacuum quick disconnect is used to vent liquid directly overboard from equipment connected to the quick disconnect through the vacuum line.

The urinal can accommodate both males and females. The urinal assembly is a flexible hose with attachable funnels for males or females. It can be used in a standing position or can be attached to the commode by a pivoting mounting bracket for use in a sitting position.

All waste collection system gases are ducted from the fan separator into the odor and bacteria filter and then mixed with cabin air. The filter can be removed for in-flight replacement.

Read the complete article from NASA.

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