Feeds

ISS urinal/drinks-machine combo still buggy

Piss off, sweat & tears only at space minibar

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.