Feeds

Endeavour launch heralds new dawn for piss-drinking

Godspeed and strong kidneys

High performance access to file storage

Space shuttle Endeavour safely blasted off from Kennedy Space Center this evening, delivering extra living space for the International Space Station and the promise of cold, refreshing recycled urine on tap.

As part of their 15-day mission, the astronauts will deliver two new sleeping units, a kitchenette, exercise equipment, and the much-need relief of a second toilet.

NASA's plans are to double ISS crew size from three to six as early as May.

Endeavour awaits lift-off. Image courtesy of NASA.

The shuttle also brings a $250m wastewater recycling kit designed to purify urine and evaporated perspiration into clean drinking water.

"We did a blind taste test of the water," said NASA's Bob Bagdigian, the system's lead engineer told the BBC. "Nobody had any strong objections. Other than a faint taste of iodine, it is just as refreshing as any other kind of water."

"I've got some in my fridge," he added. "It tastes just fine."

The water recycling equipment can process a full day's wastewater in less than 24 hours.

With only 10 more scheduled flights before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010, the space agency wants to lighten the load of drinking water needed to be hauled up to the station in future launches.

The mission, STS-126, has been dubbed "Extreme Home Improvements." In addition to installing the new quarters and equipment, it has four space walks on the agenda aimed at services the joints that rotate the ISS's solar arrays.

Aboard Endeavour (from left to right) is mission specialists Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen, pilot Eric Boe, mission commander Chris Ferguson, and mission specialists Sandra Magnus, Donald Pettit, and Shane Kimbrough.

Magnus will remain at the space station, relieving Gregory Chamitoff, who's been aboard the ISS since STS-124 in May. Magnus will return to Earth on the Discovery's mission STS-119, planned to arrive February 12 next year. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.