Feeds

Cosmonaut bemoans ISS toilet row

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.