Feeds

ISS drinks dispenser now taking the p*ss

Urine Processor Assembly up and running

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The International Space Station's cantankerous Water Recovery System (see pic) is now apparently up and running following a few issues with the unit's Urine Processor Assembly (UPA).

The ISS's Water Recovery SystemThe crew of space shuttle Endeavour extended their mission STS-126 to the outpost by a day to tackle the problem, which centred on a dodgy distiller centrifuge. This spins the urine as it's boiled to produce the artificial gravity field required to allow contaminants to separate from the water content. NASA explains: "On Earth, distilling is a simple process of simply boiling water and cooling the steam back into pure water. But without gravity, the contaminants in water never separate from the steam no matter how much heat is used."

The agency elaborates: "The contaminants in the urine press against the sides of the drum while the steam gathers in the middle and is pumped to a filter."

When first fired up earlier this month, the recycler triggered a fire alert, which was subsequently found to be spurious, although the machine was shut down pending analysis.

This showed that the urine inside the centrifuge was causing the drum to thrash about on its evidently inadequate dampeners. These were detached and the unit bolted firmly into place with additional brackets offering extra support.

NASA now reports: "The UPA ran three successful cycles since modifications Sunday and Monday. Based on that success, program managers decided they will leave the distillation assembly on orbit. They were able to get the samples processed through the UPA and Water Processing Assembly and dispensed through the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD)."

Furthermore, NASA is satisfied with the performance of the port and starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJs), which were the subject of maintenance during the four STS-126 spacewalks. The starboard joint had proved somewhat inflexible due to metal flakes in its trundle bearing assemblies, and was unable to rotate freely to allow the station's solar panels to fully capture available sunlight.

NASA says: "Preliminary data shows an indication that the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint is using less power and moving more freely than before. Engineers plan to continue monitoring the starboard SARJ’s performance. The port SARJ’s current usage has decreased as well due to the preventative lubrication."

ISS and Endeavour crew will today transfer the reuseable Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module - used to bring supplies to the station - back to the shuttle ahead of a Friday dedocking. Endeavour is due to touch down at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility at about 18:18 GMT on Sunday. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.