$23 million toilet onboard spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla; Know what's so special
Have you ever wondered how do the astronauts defecate in zero gravity? If yes, then you may be shocked to know that a special toilet is scheduled to be installed on the International Space Station (ISS) and it will officially be the most expensive one in the known universe at a whooping price of $23 million.
The brand new highly sophisticated toilet was scheduled to be sent onboard a resupply spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla on September 30 but was aborted just before 2 minutes and 40 seconds to lift-off due to "an unknown problem with a component of ground support equipment".
The launch was reattempted and resupply spacecraft was successfully sent to space on October 3rd.
For many years, astronauts onboard the ISS have been using Russian-made toilets. While these have been in service since decades, astronauts have given feedbacks on difficulty in using them, especially for women.
The existing toilets functional at the ISS are very bulky and occupy a lot of space. With more and more people visiting the ISS in the coming months, the need for a more compact and better toilet has led to the manufacturing of this new space toilet called Universal Waste Management System (UWMS).
The new toilet not only works in zero gravity, but also during longer missions. If the new space toilet passes the daily usage tests at the ISS then NASA would install more such toilets in future spacecrafts.
This new space toilet is 65 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than the existing Russian toilets onboard the International Space Station.
The toilet weighing at 45 kgs will benefit ISS and NASA's future space missions as it will occupy less pace and reduce load in spacecrafts.