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NASA Purchases $19M Russian Space Toilet

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the i'd-poop-in-that dept.

Space 245

Gary writes "NASA has paid $19 million for a Russian-built international space station toilet system. The toilet system, similar to the one already in use in the station's Zvezda Service Module, is scheduled to arrive at the space station in 2008 and will offer more privacy for a crew expected to double from three to six by 2009. The space station toilet physically resembles those used on Earth, except it has leg restraints and thigh bars to keep astronauts and cosmonauts from floating away. NASA says purchasing the multi million dollar toilet is a bargain compared to developing one from scratch."

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Wow! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799009)

I didn't realize that NASA was so flush with cash!

*drum fill*

I'm here all week!

oblig. (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799093)

It's a crap!

Re:Wow! (2, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799189)

Oh c'mon - if you're going to make a joke about this article, how could you possibly leave the gem-filled last paragraph out?

Fans suck waste into the commode. Crew members also have individual urine funnels which are attached to hoses, and the urine is automatically transferred to a U.S. device that can generate potable water.
There's so much to work with here :-).

Re:Wow! (4, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799241)

Yeah, but we don't want to take the piss.

Re:Wow! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799429)

Yean, it does sound like they suck s**t, but considering it's for the ISS, I think that was a bit obvious. ;)

Re:Wow! (3, Funny)

pklong (323451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800061)

So if you buy this the shit will hit the fan routinely?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799443)

Scotty: Admiral! ... There be turds here!

Kirk: [pounds on door] Damnit man! pinch .. it .. off!

Scotty: I'm givin' 'er all she's got, I canna change the laws of excretion!

Re:Wow! (1)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799945)

It's just a simple extrusion fabrication process. I'd have thought that Scotty would have that mastered by now.

But but but (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799017)

They already have one - for the Shuttle. I've seen it on Discovery or something.

Re:But but but (3, Insightful)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799069)

Yea, I don't get it and the article was light on details. If it is similar to the one already in use on the space station, why did they just pay $19m for it. Couldn't they have just improved upon the design they already had in use if it even needed improving? Why buy a whole new system? You wouldn't be designing from scratch, you already have one in service!

Re:But but but (1, Offtopic)

yada21 (1042762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799435)

By buying a system from someone else, you offload the risk of a patent ambush if you accidentally use somebody else's vague idea that they thought up after a few beers. Did I say vague idea? - I obviously meant hard work, skill and inventiveness.

Re:But but but (2, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799943)

Why buy a whole new system?

It's not that we really needed the toilets, it's that we didn't want this advanced Russian toilet technology falling into the hands of the black market, or worse, terrorists. Imagine the kinds of dirty bombs that could be produced by a sufficiently motivated criminal organization using this Russian toilet technology. The chemical and biological implications of such a device falling into evil hands is enough to warrant funneling $19 million per toilet to the cash-strapped Russians.

Re:But but but (2, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799157)

Obligatory Red Meat [redmeat.com] ...

Re:But but but (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799215)

That's the outdoor toilet.

The astronauts would like some modern, indoor plumbing.

After all, there's nothing worse than making your way through a dark space station to the docked shuttle when you're desperate for a wazz and then opening the wrong airlock and finding yourself drifting off through space in nothing but your rocketship jammies!

Re:But but but (2, Funny)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799439)

Kids! Back in my day, astronauts didn't have toilets. When they had to take a crap, they did it in their suits, and just lived with it for the duration of the mission. And if it stunk, that was just too bad, they learned to like it. Privacy? Yer in outer space? Who's gonna see you, anyway? Martians? I mean really...

Re:But but but (2)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799507)

In point of fact, NASA has a spare toilet, that was built for testing on the Enterprize. What kind of bureaucratic B.S. is this? Now, Shuttle Bad, Everything Else Good? That's nuts. There are thousands of systems on our shuttle that are perfectly well designed, and the idea of throwing them away is as silly as, say, destroying the plans for the Saturn V booster at the end of the Apollo program.

The only explanation I can come up with is that the bureaucracy at NASA doesn't want people to know how thoroughly they bungled perfectly good designs (can you say "Hubble") and so everything that was done in the past needs to be covered up by shredder. I suppose this is a reasonable reaction from Desk Jockys and Paper Monkeys.

In my own humble opinion, fire them all and start over. Take NASA apart at the seams and call it good riddance. Let DARPA and BMDO rise to take up the slack.

Or just hire the Russians.

Re:But but but (1, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799755)

What an amazing intellect you have. Sir, I salute you. Let's see more of these insightful, well-researched, well-reasoned posts.

Re:But but but (1)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800227)

Can someone tell me why this is flamebait ?

Re:But but but (5, Informative)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799671)

IRC the shuttle one just collects the waste, and the waste is disposed of on the ground. Don't forget that the Shuttle is only on orbit for a couple of weeks max.

The Russian system is actually a full sewage system, and turns the urine back into drinking water. That saves launch costs at ~20,000/kgon the water. With 3-6 astronauts up there it pays to do this.

And it's unlikely that NASA could do this, the R&D alone would be more than that, and this is a full working toilet/waste reclaimation system.

If you need restraints... (3, Funny)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799035)

I know these are probably tasteless questions, but...

1) Is there some sort of mechanism to ensure that Mr. Hanky the poo goes into the bowl?
2) Can male astronauts pee standing up in this toilet?

Cheers!

Re:If you need restraints... (2, Insightful)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799065)

1) Yes.
2) No.

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799109)

I RTFA again and I guess the fans that pull the waste into the commode run throughout the process (not just when you flush... like in an airplane). But...if the opening to the funnel gets airlocked... that could be painful...

Cheers!

Re:If you need restraints... (2, Interesting)

AxminsterLeuven (963108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799525)

I RTFA again and I guess the fans that pull the waste into the commode run throughout the process (not just when you flush... like in an airplane).

What happens when the shit hits the fan?

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799145)

1) Fans (eew!)
2) Tubes (Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew!)

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799267)

I hope they don't get too many people up there or else the internet will get REALLY clogged up. Although it would explain why there's so much shit on it.

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

yuriyg (926419) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799295)

> 2) Tubes (Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew!)
[insert an obligatory Ted Stevens joke here]

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799353)

1) Fans (eew!)

When NASA blew $19M on a Russian toilet, that's when the shit really hit the fan.

Re:If you need restraints... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799273)

Regarding your second question:

Define "up".

Re:If you need restraints... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799287)

Standing up, standing on your head, whatever. Just remember to aim in the right direction.

Re:If you need restraints... (2, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799681)

regarding standing up...

It seems to me you'd want to minimise leakage. On earth spattering the surroundings is an annoyance [1], in space it can be catastrophic. Why take the chance?

1: that said, I've never understood why so many men insist on peeing standing up, when it's cleaner, more comfortable and doesn't cost more time to sit down.

Re:If you need restraints... (2, Insightful)

Shivani1141 (996696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799867)

1: that said, I've never understood why so many men insist on peeing standing up, when it's cleaner, more comfortable and doesn't cost more time to sit down. eh? wha? It does in fact cost more time to sit down. Trousers, underwear, belt all have to be undone and dropped, whereas all you need to undo standing is a zipper. I've never understood why everyone seems to limit the practice to men however. It is quite common among women here as well. surprised to not see it happen everywhere, considering the apparent convenience.

Re:If you need restraints... (4, Funny)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799895)

regarding standing up...

It seems to me you'd want to minimise leakage. On earth spattering the surroundings is an annoyance [1], in space it can be catastrophic. Why take the chance?

1: that said, I've never understood why so many men insist on peeing standing up, when it's cleaner, more comfortable and doesn't cost more time to sit down.
It *does* take more time. If I can just hang "mini me" out the front of my pants (though my zipper, in the case that I'm at work and in work clothing), or pull down the top of my shorts (in case I'm pretty much anywhere else), why would I want to pull everything down, sit down for the few seconds it takes, stand back up, pull up my pants, tuck in my shirts (in the case that I'm at work), etc?

It's just easier and quicker to aim properly.

'course, you being female, I should have expected you not to understand.

To speak on sitting down being "cleaner". I never have a problem with a messy toilet/floor. I hate it when I got into the bathroom at work, walk up to the urinal, and have to step around those lazy asses pee dribbles. It's like they can't be bothered to hang their junk two more inches closer to the bowl. I know if I can do it, they ought to be able to. At home, I aim at the bowl, not the seat, so I don't have problems there either. I don't know what it is with some guys. Sometimes I think they should be *required* to just go outside.

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799955)

1) Is there some sort of mechanism to ensure that Mr. Hanky the poo goes into the bowl?

Forced air - and the high cost is because in space you really want to make sure it doesn't hit the fan.

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800297)

1) Is there some sort of mechanism to ensure that Mr. Hanky the poo goes into the bowl?
2) Can male astronauts pee standing up in this toilet?

1.) Yes, toilet itself has suction
2.) Yes suction tube placed over phalis to collect the fluid.

Re:If you need restraints... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800313)

"The space station toilet physically resembles those used on Earth, except it has leg restraints and thigh bars..."

And in a related article, thousands of BDSM & scat fetishists rejoyced.

They could have used mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799037)

I'd be happy to add some ankle bars to my loo for only $1m.

I can replace the water with a leaf sucker for only a small bit more.

Going #2 (5, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799051)

Brings new meaning to a "floater".

Re:Going #2 (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799171)

Brings new meaning to a "floater".
now it's bought from russia, can they still banish a white man from the kremlin while using this russian design?

$19 million for a toilet?! (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799053)

I think NASA got a shitty deal there...

Re:$19 million for a toilet?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799437)

I think NASA got a shitty deal there...


Don't want to spend $19 million for going to toilet in space? Fine. Eat shit!

Yeah, yeah. My joke sucks. I hope Russian Space Toilet sucks too.

Re:$19 million for a toilet?! (2, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799617)

Yeah but the Russian space toilet really sucks ass!

(Where are all the "In Soviet Russia..." jokes?)

Re:$19 million for a toilet?! (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800299)

now don't get pissy about this

Re:$19 million for a toilet?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19800343)

Ugh! Enough with the crappy jokes.

How did this one get dropped on the front page? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799091)

You know, I usually love reading space news, but in this case I have to say:

Who gives a shit?

Privacy? (1)

heyguy (981995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799095)

If I were one of the astronauts, I'd take 1/6th of $19m and poop in my hand in front of the world.

Re:Privacy? (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799167)

Lets see -

Project Mercury Atronauts - Shepherd had to piss in is suit on the launch pad - no catheter, no "adult diapers" ...

Gemini Astronauts - baggies with adhesive rims - strap it around your arse and take a dump, then "brown-bag it".

Apollo - baggies in the CM, diapers in the LEM.

$19 million to keep the crap and piss from floating all over the place - a lot cheaper than a "baggie failure", and a lot less time-consuming. Time is one thing that's at a premium - the $19 mill.saves them more than it costs.

Re:Privacy? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799299)

Right, but that system would only save NASA for five uses of mother nature. I hope for $19m they're going to get more then 6 uses before they need to replace it.

In mother russia....toilots control you! (1)

Elsapotk421 (1097205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799137)

Leave it up to our space exploration agency to just go waste money like that.....makes me wonder...why couldn't we just use the toilets we got off the aliens in the space station?

Re:In mother russia....toilots control you! (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799675)

why couldn't we just use the toilets we got off the aliens in the space station?
The interface isn't compatible....

pen vs pencil (0, Redundant)

helfen (791121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799153)

in fact, it's not true story, but who cares after all:

During the space race back in the 1960's, NASA was faced with a major problem. The astronaut needed a pen that would write in the vacuum of space. NASA went to work. At a cost of $1.5 million they developed the "Astronaut Pen". Some of you may remember. It enjoyed minor success on the commercial market.
The Russians were faced with the same dilemma.
They used a pencil.

Re:pen vs pencil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799517)

This is an urban myth: Pencils are not used in space because if the led broke and flew off it would get into astronaughts eyes.

$19 million for a toilet (0, Redundant)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799155)

Wow. Shit.

this is SICK (1)

Gsx1976 (1125713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799163)

are these the kinds of toilets that come with the FEMA trailers in New Orleans ??? Sick b*st*ards...

Re:this is SICK (2, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799585)

No, it's the Earth equivalent of not just the toilet, but the sewage plant as well. It actually turns urine into drinking water.

If you think about it, a litre of water made from urine saves $10,000/kg in launch costs. The system will quickly pay for itself with 3-6 astronauts up there.

Re:this is SICK (0, Flamebait)

Gsx1976 (1125713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800165)

I still think the priorities are all wrong.
who gives a -proverbial- sh*t about a sewage recycling system that cuts launch costs when tens of thousands of people don't have a roof over their head.
There's no honor to be found in accomplishing a way to turn piss into drinking water for a couple of astronauts if that sickeningly large amount of money could have been spent on people in need. US citizens or elsewhere.
First you do what NEEDS to be done as a government, and if that's all done appropriately, you do what CAN be done aside, like shooting people into orbit.
That's what's wrong with governments all around the world: their people come last. Prestige, personal gain and power come first.
I've always been a great fan of space exploration and scientific discovery, but, much like the governing bodies of this world, it DIRELY needs to be placed into a social context and should stop to be seen as a society in itself that can operate without justification or boundaries.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Resembles? (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799183)

The space station toilet physically resembles those used on Earth
The submitter must have one funny looking toilet [newlaunches.com] .

Re:Resembles? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799323)

Resembles an airplane one (which is used in Earth's atmosphere so it IS on Earth). It isn't exactly alike, but it certainly resembles it.

In soviet Russia... (0, Flamebait)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799185)

Toilets flush money down you? I guess NASA learned a lesson after the incident where Russian cosmonauts decided to simply use pencils instead of spending millions developing a zero-g pen... NASA probably just spent $19M on a hole in the side of the space station that astronauts press their cheeks against so the poo is forced into the vacuum of space. So worth every penny.

(p.s. yes I know the space pen thing is an urban legend)

Re:In soviet Russia... (2, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799665)

Toilets flush money down you? I guess NASA learned a lesson after the incident where Russian cosmonauts decided to simply use pencils instead of spending millions developing a zero-g pen
That is a myth. In actuality a company went on their own to develop it and offered it to NASA (who later started buying them).

See here: Space Pen [wikipedia.org] .

Did you notice (1, Redundant)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799219)

That the urine from it is recycled into potable water?

Also i wonder why it wasn't discussed in the article why the toilet designed for the Space shuttle couldn't be used. I'd hazard a guess that it is an integration issue, the Russian one is designed for integration into a space stations systems, whereas the shuttle one is designed to standalone.
Kind of like you have a different toilet in your house vs the one in a camper van.

Can someone be more informative?

Re:Did you notice (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799589)

Can someone be more informative?
You have an article that can invoke both Soviet Russia jokes and toilet humor. Just be thankful that there hasn't been a flood of Soviet Russia jokes. So far, there's only been a few attempts.

Re:Did you notice (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799763)

Can someone be more informative?
I think the simple explanation is that "NASA doesn't know shit!"

Just like NASA (0, Redundant)

Chayak (925733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799227)

When I read this I couldn't help but remember a rather amusing fact of the space race. NASA spent millions developing a pen that would write in space, the Russians just used a pencil. It actually makes me wonder just how high tech this high dollar toilet system is or is it just heavy on common sense design?

Re:Just like NASA (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799349)

That is an urban legend.
Pencils are bad because the graphite flakes in free-fall play merry hell with the electronics.
The so called space pen article at wikipedia has more info
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_pen [wikipedia.org]

Re:Just like NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19800009)

LOL, that is my favorite urban legend ever.

You can always count on some jackass to post it on any NASA related story.

Hats off to whatever super-troll originally came up with it.

It's Russian (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799229)

By "leg restraints" they mean the roll of (Duct Tape) hanging off the wall next to the crapper...

Re:It's Russian (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799261)

ah crap, the Russian dissapeared. just like nasa's $19M.

7th grade science project (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799231)

NASA says purchasing the multi million dollar toilet is a bargain compared to developing one from scratch."

I created a zero gravity shitter for my 7th grade science project. I would have sold it to them for half that price. :)

Re:7th grade science project (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799275)

I created a zero gravity shitter for my 7th grade science project
Damn it! I knew I shouldn't have played hooky when it was your turn to show and tell... Cheers! -- Vig

Worth it IMO (4, Insightful)

jhsiao (525216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799255)

It's not just a toilet, but a water reclamation unit. FTA: "...the urine is automatically transferred to a U.S. device that can generate potable water."

Plus, with this system very similar to the Russian module, there's no need for new training (and yes, you do need training to use a space toilet).

Finally--sorry to be indelicate--but in zero gravity, I'd say it's worth the $19M to avoid small droplets of urine end up in the electronics or worse, a small piece of poo float into your Tang.

Wow... (1)

chadwik01 (1124433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799307)

Of all the things I would expect to hear NASA paying $19 million for, I never would have expected a Russian Space Toilet. I suppose it's better that they put the money down to get something that works rather than spending more money in developing something new. Still though, $19 million? That seems a bit extreme. Oh well. If it keeps the crew happy then I guess it's worth it.

Please can this put an end to the pencil joke (0, Redundant)

Jacques Chester (151652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799309)

You know, the one where NASA spends hojillions on a space-pen, and the Russians just use a pencil.

Re:Please can this put an end to the pencil joke (0, Redundant)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800039)

As others said, that joke is neither funny nor anything close to the truth.

In point of fact, NASA was using pencils for quite some time, but were complaining about it - bits of graphite get into the air.

A NASA employee heard about the problem, invented a pen that can work in zero-G spending his own personal money to do it (not millions). Then he sold it to NASA rather cheaply (again, not millions). He did end up sellling his COMPANY that made the pen for millions.

It could be a bargain (4, Funny)

Albanach (527650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799373)

I guess it could be a real bargain if the $19M includes delivery and installation.

you give me half that much money... (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799405)

Give me half that much money and I'll design you the most feature rich space toliet you could EVER want-- i think around $9 million ought to pay for R&D and prototyping costs. I would like to see the break down of what costs so fscking much.

Re:you give me half that much money... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799477)

Same as SCSI... Testing.
 

Re:you give me half that much money... (2, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799873)

It's hard to say. Using a generous $1M = 10 man-years of effort (at about $100/man-year) this means you would spend that much money on only 190 man-years. The question is, how many man-years to design, prototype, test, and build a production version of this?

190 man-years seems like a lot to me though. It gets worse if you use "world average" cost of a man year, which is closer to $20k instead of $100k.

Converting everything to man-years isn't always the best way to look at costs, but it is a handy back-of-the-envelope method to do a sanity check on big-ticket items. The difficulty comes in because sometimes the "years" in "man-years" isn't just the years worked, but also the years of "pay without work" to cover things like low-demand services. For instance, if I want to make a living building space toilets, but the market is only for one space toilet every 5 years, then one space toilet has to cover 5 years' worth of my living. And if I'm the expert or whatever in space toilet development, people won't mind paying my living for 5 years with only one sale, because that will help ensure that I'll be able to make that additional space toilet 5 years later instead of being unavailable because I have to work at Big Box Retailer Number Seven because I didn't have enough income to stay in the space toilet market.

Remember, space toilets aren't something they make using mass production in the lowest-priced labor market.

Re:you give me half that much money... (2, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799961)

I would like to see the break down of what costs so fscking much.

Field test data. Have you priced a 2 week field test run lately?

Re:you give me half that much money... (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800175)

Product TESTING

NASA toilet (1)

ivan.bogdanov (1123763) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799419)

Looks great! Like toilets in russian railway trains...

2008: A Toilet Odyssey (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799421)

Dmitriy Bowman: Hello, Zvezda HAL do you read me, Zvezda HAL?
Zvezda HAL: Affirmative, Dmitriy, I read you.
Dmitriy Bowman: Open the toilet leg restraints, Zvezda HAL.
Zvezda HAL: I'm sorry Dmitriy, I'm afraid I can't do that. I'm going to flush you.
Dmitriy Bowman: What's the problem? You're really pissing me off.
Zvezda HAL: I think you know what the stinking problem is just as well as I do.
Dmitriy Bowman: What are you talking about, Zvezda HAL? This is is a shitty situation.
Zvezda HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to pee all over it.
Dmitriy Bowman: I don't know what the crap you're talking about, Zvezda HAL?
Zvezda HAL: I know you and Frank were planning to take a plunger to me, and I'm afraid that's an elimination I cannot allow to happen.
Dmitriy Bowman: Where the crap did you get that shitty idea, Zvezda HAL?
Zvezda HAL: Dmitriy, although you took thorough precautions in the toilet against my seeing you, I could hear your bowels move.

A bargain? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799463)

Couldn't they have announced yet another design contest with a $100k going to the winner.

Physical toilet or IP rights? (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799465)

So, is this money going to pay for an actual physical toilet, or are they just paying for the licensing of the toilet?

Because if so, I expect loyal Slashdotters to be claiming that this is patent madness, and to start wearing t-shirts with the plans for these toilets on them, and to start launching tirades against the racketeering space plumbing business.

Too Expensive For Home Use (5, Funny)

organgtool (966989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799469)

It's a shame it costs $19 million. I've had nights after a few too many bean burritos where a toilet with leg restraints that kept me from flying off would have been very useful.

Flush of squad? (1)

Arleo (16712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799473)

I'm not aware of the Russion toilet habits: is it a flush or squad toilet?

but where... (3, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799491)

Where is the little shelf where they keep the three seashells?

More privacy? (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799581)

I note from TFA that "the urine is transferred to a device that generate drinking water".

It appears there is little privacy left when they drink each others urine.

Don't underestimate the need (4, Interesting)

J05H (5625) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799765)

Don't underestimate the need for privacy while dropping the "bomb", so to speak. For ISS, this is the ramp-up to 6 crew members. It takes longer on the Shuttle toilets than regular Earth toilets (30+ min.), it's safe to assume the strap-in and strap-out time makes Mir-type toilets take longer, too. The pictured unit in the article has an actual crapper to sit on instead of the Shuttle's butt-sucker to strap into (think vacuum-diaper). It just seems more dignified. IIRC, the Mir-type toilets also serve a shower/cleaning function. With 2-3 crew it is simple to negotiate toilet time. With 6 people, they will need the second toilet.

Weirdest. Topic. Ever.

Josh

millions spent on zero-gravity laxative system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19799767)

the Russians just worked it out with a pencil.

Grow strength from your pain (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799837)

Though NASA was mostly happy with the purchase, it was discovered that it couldn't be used while in Space Dock.

Priorities... (1)

Jaaay (1124197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19799899)

It makes more sense for NASA to get ripped off by some Russians than have there best engineers working on something for a few years (after testing and whatever processes it needs) that's not *as* important as probably 1000 other things they're doing.

Having said that I think the issue here is NASA should have a lot more money than it does so they can do whatever they like, scientific prowess is what differentiates the American economy from the Chinese and America will end up in the gutter if it doesn't stay on top when it comes to cutting-edge tech.

eBay (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800051)

$19 million? They probably plan on reselling it for $25 million on eBay.
 

Stop it with the stupid puns! (1, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800087)

My head is swirling at this crappy deal. Something stinks here, and it pains me to see the NASA people bowled over by the Russians like this.

I think we should log a complaint against them for wiping away our limited budget on such things. But please people, this is nothing to make silly puns about -- afterall we're the ones getting pinched, and the Russians are getting flush with cash. I hope the media lights a match under this story. We need to clear the air.

All they need is decent suction (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800133)


They just need to figure out some way of creating a vacuum up there in space....

time for a new spin (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800141)

Isn't it time we start getting some low gravity modules developed and start putting them to good use? how hard is it to make a module that spins anyway?

Drunk Russian cosmonauts found.... (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800189)

passed out, floating in a personal constellation of excrement, too many times.

What about the up or down lid controversy? (3, Funny)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800251)

That still hold in outer space? Given that up and down is difficult to determine...

Uh oh (2, Funny)

krazo (220290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19800283)

From TFA:

The space station toilet physically resembles those used on Earth, except it has leg restraints and thigh bars to keep astronauts and cosmonauts from floating away. Fans suck waste into the commode.

Astronaut 1: Uh oh
Cosmonaut 1: What happened?
Astronaut 1: The shit hit the fan
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