Feeds

Cosmonaut bemoans ISS toilet row

Can't use apparently non-existent deluxe US space dunny

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has bemoaned an increasingly petty US-Russian spat in which politics apparently threaten the brotherly co-operation which has hitherto marked life aboard the International Space Station.

The Expedition 19 Crew. Pic: NASAPadalka (pictured centre with NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, left, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata), is currently on the orbiting outpost as part of Expedition 19, which blasted off last Thursday from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Before leaving, he reportedly told the Novaya Gazeta that, since 2005 when space missions were put on a commercial footing and the Russians starting billing US astronauts for its services, the Americans have responded by an increasingly isolationist stance on their own facilities.

Specifically, Padalka claimed officials had "rejected his request to work out on the American exercise bike". He said: "They told me: 'Yes, you can'. Then they said 'no'. Then they hold consultations and they approve it again. And now, right before the flight, it turns out again that the answer is negative."

Worse still, Padalka said that American and Russian crew members had been told to use their own 'national toilets'. Various news reports have picked up on this aspect of the row, with some suggesting cosmonauts will not be able to relieve themselves in the Americans' deluxe "astro-loo", as one paper put it.*

This could actually prove rather more tricky for US crew aboard the ISS, since the orbiting outpost's Ассенизационно-Санитарная Установка, or "Waste Management System", is actually a Russian-built affair housed in the Zvezda module.

Presumably, the deluxe American dunny in question is the one NASA stumped $19m for back in 2007 - another Russian-built device similar to that already on board. This toilet is, however, destined to be housed on American territory - the Node 3 module slated to arrive aloft aboard Endeavour on STS-130 mission, provisionally booked for lift-off on 10 December this year.

It's unlikely, however, that Padalka and his comrades will force astronauts to either go outside for a leak or resort to nappies pending the arrival of a second facility. He said: "Cosmonauts are above the ongoing squabble, no matter what officials decide. We are grown-up, well-educated and good-mannered people and can use our own brains to create normal relationship."

He concluded: "It's politicians and bureaucrats who can't reach agreement, not us cosmonauts and astronauts." ®

Bootnote

* It's possible that this is referring to NASA's extremely expensive and bothersome urine recycling machine. Exact details of who's currently allowed to take a slash where have proved elusive, although a ban on cosmonauts providing the raw material for much-needed drinking water when the ISS crew is expanded to six is, frankly, highly unlikely.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.