Feeds

ISS urinal/drinks-machine combo still buggy

Piss off, sweat & tears only at space minibar

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Tanks aboard the International Space Station are filling up fast with urine, according to reports, as efforts to repair the orbital outpost's troublesome piss-recycling plant over the weekend failed.

The current boss of the space station, US airforce colonel Michael Fincke, showed he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty as he set about the Urine Processor Assembly on Sunday afternoon. The buggy machine had triggered a fire alarm when first started up on Friday, and has worked only intermittently since then.

Fincke, having been a test flight-engineer in the air force after "washing out" of pilot training, also holds an advanced degree from MIT in Astronautics. He was assisted while wrestling with the unruly urine unit by mission specialist Don Pettit of the shuttle Endeavour, currently docked at the station.

Pettit, who holds a doctorate in chemical engineering, had volunteered to help out with the recalcitrant recycler despite being on his break period. According to NASA, the two men dismounted a troublesome centrifuge drum from its "dampener" units and bolted it rigidly into place. Ground engineers considered that this might prevent any excessive sloshing or tumbling.

Space.com reports that initially the centrifuge ran like a dream, but three hours and "about a gallon" of piss later it shut off again unxpectedly. However, Fincke took a glass-is-half-full view of the matter.

"That's a third of a tank right there," said the weary space-station commander, no doubt smacking his lips at the prospect of a chilled beverage after his hard graft with the golden barrel.

Though the Endeavour and station astronauts have so far mostly had to do without their planned ration of urine-sourced refreshments, there has been some consolation. While the UPA has proven erratic, its companion atmo-moisture plant - which reaps wetness from the station's air - is doing better.

While as yet only a few of the orbital explorers have been able to quench their parched throats with a moistening swig of piss, Fincke has been able routinely to offer his crew and guests a beakerful of sweat - and possibly tears.

There's more here from NASA on how the recycling machinery works, for those interested. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.