Feeds

Endeavour launch heralds new dawn for piss-drinking

Godspeed and strong kidneys

New hybrid storage solutions

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.