Feeds

ISS urinal/drinks-machine combo still buggy

Piss off, sweat & tears only at space minibar

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.