The ISS is getting a new toilet and more this week

Shane McGlaun - Sep 27, 2020, 11:02am CDT
The ISS is getting a new toilet and more this week

Things we take for granted on Earth can be complicated in space. One example is going to the bathroom. The ISS has had a toilet on board since it was placed into orbit. Over the years, there have been problems with the space toilet. NASA is sending several pieces of equipment to the ISS this week aboard the Cygnus spacecraft scheduled to launch on September 29.

Aboard the private cargo spacecraft set to lift off from Virginia are literal tons of fresh supplies for the space station, including a new space toilet, scientific instruments, and skincare items from Estée Lauder. We are serious about the last one. The mission is known as Cygnus NG-14, and it will carry 7624 pounds of cargo to the space station.

This mission will be the 13th mission to the ISS for the Northrop Grumman spacecraft. Cygnus NG-14 will be pushed into orbit atop an Antares rocket with launch him scheduled for Tuesday, September 29, at 10:27 PM EDT. The rocket is lifting off from the mid-Atlantic regional spaceport at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

This particular spacecraft has been named the S.S. Kalpana Chawla in honor of the astronaut of the same name, who was one of the seven who died in the Columbia tragedy in 2003. The launch will be broadcast on NASA TV starting at 10 PM EDT on Tuesday. Among the nearly 8000 pounds of cargo heading to the space station are plenty of food and water for the crew.

The toilet is officially called the Universal Waste Management System. The space toilet cost $23 million and was created with astronaut input. The new toilet is 65 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the toilet currently in the space station. It was specifically designed to be optimized for the female crew.

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