Houston's potty problem: Space toilet floods again

Amid all of this weekend's Apollo coverage, little was made of astronauts' No. 1 problem. Their toilet broke yesterday.

The International Space Station is hosting its largest party ever – six regular crew members and seven extra astronauts working on further maintenance around the base. What an unfortunate time for the commode to flood.

These $19-million Russian toilets have broken before, and mission managers worry that the growing list of guests will continue to overwhelm the station's two toilets. The docked shuttle Endeavour provided a temporary loo on Sunday as astronauts repaired the flooded separator pump and control panel. After a few hours of plumbing Monday morning, the crew fixed the toilet.

So, how does a space toilet work? Since liquids don't behave well in zero-gravity, Russian engineers devised a series of suction tubes and fans. Here's a quick schematic:

For the latest tech news, follow us on Twitter.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK