Feeds

ISS urinal/drinks-machine combo still buggy

Piss off, sweat & tears only at space minibar

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.