Up knowledge! How difficult is it for astronauts to go to the toilet? If you’re not careful, you’ll get a lot of flowers

With the invention of manned spacecraft, the aerospace industry of various countries is gradually growing. Nevertheless, many people are still curious about the life of astronauts in space. How do astronauts go to the toilet in space?


On May 5, 1961, Alan Sheppard, the first American astronaut, was sitting in the mercury spaceship waiting for the launch. Due to technical reasons, the launch was delayed for more than four hours. At that time, Sheppard reported to the ground control center that he had been holding his urine for a long time and could not hold it. According to the original plan, due to the short space flight time, there is no need to prepare toilet for astronauts. Now Sheppard suddenly proposed to go to the toilet, which caught ground control center and engineering and technical personnel by surprise. After emergency consultation with relevant parties, the ground control center finally decided to let Sheppard put on his own spacesuit to solve the problem.

On the one hand, space is a weightless environment, and the excreted feces and urine will not float down, but will be in a floating state; on the other hand, all the equipment in space must be very small, light and power consuming, which brings great difficulties to the design. Therefore, all personal hygiene equipment on the ground can not be used in space.


Excrement collection bag is not easy to use


From what Sheppard learned, NASA soon designed a device for astronauts to collect space urine. It is a small plastic bag with a belt tied to the waist of the astronaut, mainly collecting urine. After the astronauts returned to the ground, the bags were sealed and discarded. The problem of feces has to wait to get back to the ground.

In the Gemini spacecraft, astronauts still carry urine bags during launch and landing, but during orbital flight, urine bags are collected separately. A device used to collect urine. The urine collector is composed of a tube located in the interior of the spacesuit. Its shape is similar to a condom. It should be put on the astronaut’s hip, and the other end leads to a urine tank, which is connected with space, so the astronaut’s urine tank is finally scattered into space. The fecal collection device is also very simple. In fact, it is a long plastic bag, pointing directly at the buttocks of astronauts.


Although the Apollo program on the moon was very complicated, the astronauts still used the fecal collection equipment used by the Gemini astronauts, with only a few minor improvements. The improvement of the urine bag is that the urine pipe can not directly contact with the body. Although this improvement is small, it is most satisfactory to the astronauts. In addition, this kind of urine bag can be used once in mercury and Gemini flight, and can be used many times in Apollo flight. It is required that this kind of urine bag is not only easy to carry, but also easy to take off. In addition to carrying a urine bag, Apollo astronauts also wear stool collection pants.


In order to better solve the defecation problem during the Apollo mission, NASA requires astronauts to eat some low residue food and take some laxatives before the launch, that is, they should try their best to defecate before the launch; during the launch, in addition to eating low residue food, they should also take some drugs or antidiarrheal drugs that can reduce gastrointestinal peristalsis to reduce defecation.

Space shuttle and space station toilet


NASA has provided toilets for astronauts on the space shuttle and the international space station. Instead of using urine bags and stool bags, astronauts use space toilets. If the spaceship doesn’t wear spacesuit during launch and return landing, the toilet on the spaceship is just like on the ground. On the spaceship, the space toilet is located in the middle layer of the crew cabin of the spaceship. The two doors of the toilet are hung with curtains, because there are men and women on the spaceship, so it provides a space to protect privacy for the spaceship.


The toilet installed in the space toilet is also different from that used on the ground. Because there is no weight in the universe, water will not flow down, so we can not use the toilet, but should use the “suction toilet”. Such a “suction toilet” relies on the airflow to take away the feces, so when using, the buttocks must be close to the edge of the toilet to ensure that the interior of the toilet is completely sealed. If the seal is not tight, the internal airflow can not take the feces away.

Feces and urine are collected separately in the “suction toilet”. There is a funnel-shaped adapter in the front of the toilet, which can collect and transport feces to the urinal. There is no distinction between men and women in the exhaust toilet, and there is a distinction between men and women in the adapter.


It’s not easy to pull feces on a spaceship, and astronauts also need special training. If you are not careful and do not operate properly, feces may float out of the toilet and fly around in the cabin, just like “tiannu Sanhua”, and space life may become a disaster.


What do you think of astronauts going to the toilet in space?

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