Another Triumph in Space

Another Trimumph in Space

In the vast human adventure that is the U.S. manned space program, NASA engineers fixed the broken toilet in the International Space Station yesterday, just in time to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first walk on the lunar surface.

This was not the Russian-made Zvezda space toilet that broke down last June. It was an American-bought copy of the Russian toilet that broke down last June.  The device was delivered to the station in November 2008, five months after the Russian prototype broke. At least it’s not a General Motors product with awkward warranty issues. A Maytag repaiman Joe the Plumber Russian Cosmonaut was on site for a housecall, saving additional millions in additional repair expenses. 

 The $19 million space commode recycles waste products as drinking water. It is the major scientific accomplishment of NASA’s manned space program since the return from the Moon four decades ago.

 More space science details  here and here.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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5 Responses to “Another Triumph in Space”

  1. BC Says:

    …another giant leap? Human waste into drinking water in outer space. Great idea…piss poor design?

  2. Marie Says:

    Transporting water is expensive. Fixing a toilet is easy. Cosmonauts are highly trained engineers. The deal with NASA over the last 25 years now has been, the US will pay for it if the Russians can make it work. Yay teamwork!

  3. Mike Licht Says:

    Marie wrote: Transporting water is expensive. Fixing a toilet is easy. Cosmonauts are highly trained engineers

    Engineers don’t have to be cosmonauts to make such systems work. Singapore and many other places have water reclamation without manned space flight.

    VastVariety also submitted a lengthy laundry list of medical technology claimed as byproducts of manned space travel. Dubious. Much of this instrumention and technique originated in other countries without manned space programs. But even if they had not, similar billions spent on pure research in physics, biochemistry, etc. would have produced more than a few new sensors, switches and scans. After 40 years we would have whole new avenues of exploration and methodologies of application and treatment.

  4. Cupola: Cafe Bella Vista « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] With Cupola in place, the ISS Food Court of Nations will be virtually complete. Thank goodness the International Space Toilet was repaired. Twice. […]

  5. Plumbing the Mysteries of Space « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] as in” darn things keep breaking down.” They’ve been repaired many times, including this week. Jiggling the handle didn’t work, so the chore fell to NASA […]

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