FP TrendingSep 28, 2020 17:44:54 IST
NASA is all set to launch a new space toilet to the International Space Station for astronauts to test out before it is used on longer missions in the future – to the moon or Mars. According to a statement by the US space agency, the orbital lab will get the new toilet that will be delivered by the Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft on 3 October. The upgraded toilet will be smaller and more comfortable as well as support a larger crew as NASA’s Commercial Crew Program sends more astronauts to the station.
Chris Cassidy and Ivan Vagner will be at the robotics workstation commanding the Canadarm 2 robotic arm to capture the Cygnus when it reaches on Saturday, the NASA statement said.
The new space toilet, called the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), is the first of two that is being sent to space. Another UWMS unit will be fitted in Orion for the Artemis II flight test. The flight will ferry astronauts on a 10-day mission beyond the Moon and back to Earth. It will feed pre-treated urine into a regenerative system, recycling water for further use in the space station, where astronauts already live and work for extended periods of time.
According to a report by Space.com, the waste management system is said to have cost $23 million and is supposed to be 65 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter build than the current space station toilet. It was designed to address astronaut feedback about comfort and ease of use.
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir stated that they recycle about 90 percent of all water-based liquids on the space station, including urine and sweat, adding that what they try to do aboard the space station is mimic elements of Earth’s natural water cycle to reclaim water from the air.