What part of a space shuttle has foot straps, thigh clamps, body restraints, and suction funnels? If you guessed the toilet, you would be correct.
The Waste Collection System is necessary to put all human waste where it’s supposed to be, rather than floating around in the shuttle, and to conserve water. Urine, along with water exhaust, wastewater, sweat, and breath vapor is constantly recycled into water for drinking and showering.
Water is a precious commodity in space as it costs approximately $49,800 to send one gallon of H2O into low earth orbit. With each crewmember requiring 10,000 pounds of water, $420 million is spent on water each year.
Crewmembers make a number of sacrifices in the name of water conservation. Aside from an extremely awkward system of relieving oneself, crewmembers also deal with half the amount of water pressure than what they use on Earth and only four liters of water per shower – Earth showers use around 50 liters.
In this infographic, EmergencyPlumber.uk.com explores how astronauts struggle with limited water supply and water conservation on the final frontier.