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Toilet is Fixed and Kibo is Switched On – A Great Day Aboard the ISS (Video)

Artists impression of the completed ISS - Kibo can be clearly seen (NASA)
It has been a very good day for the crew on board the International Space Station. Not only has the brand new Japanese Kibo science laboratory been activated, much to the crew’s relief, the faulty toilet has also been fixed. Russian flight engineer Oleg Kononenko was able to replace the broken urine collection pump in a 2 hour repair job yesterday (Wednesday) and specialists in Moscow checked his work to verify it was working fine. Although this may sound like a bit of minor news, it was make-or-break time for the ISS as if the repair was unsuccessful, this may have seriously hindered the manned presence on the station (and besides, we haven’t even had time to play with Kibo yet!)…

It looks like the replacement part for the ISS toilet is working as it should after it was delivered by Discovery on June 2nd. Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko successfully carried out the technical plumbing job and all seems to be flushing as it should. Although a toilet fix in space may not seem like a critical factor, 10-days without a functioning toilet on board the ISS have been difficult for the crew. Until now, all crew members have had to make do with the single toilet facility on board the Russian Soyuz vessel currently docked at the station. It is fortunate the break-down happened when it did, with enough time for the Russian space agency to send replacement parts to the US in time for Space Shuttle Discovery’s launch last weekend.

As Kononenko worked on the unglamorous task of fixing the toilet, the other astronauts were working on installing Kibo. All connections from Kibo to the station had to be made, including water supply, power and air, and today it was pressurized and powered up. The new Kibo science laboratory that was attached to the station on Tuesday following a six-hour spacewalk by two astronauts to prepare for its installation. Everything is looking good and the crew hope to open the hatch, float in and explore the station’s brand new science module some time today.

View the Reuters video report about the plumbing trouble on the ISS »

Source: USA Today

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Hello! My name is Ian O'Neill and I've been writing for the Universe Today since December 2007. I am a solar physics doctor, but my space interests are wide-ranging. Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. I also run my own space physics blog: Astroengine.com, be sure to check it out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MegaChrist June 5, 2008, 11:17 AM

    It’s only a matter of time before God Almighty brings this abomination down as a flaming ember. The ISS is the polar opposite of gods wishes for us.

  • Sci-Fi Si June 5, 2008, 11:41 AM

    Well that was a nice comment by MegaChrist there, obviousle an Astrophysicist through and through.

    Anyway… glad to hear the tiolet is sorted, but would love to hear more about Kibo. Whats it able to research? It’s the biggest lab yet to be attached to the ISS – What can it do.

    Thanks for the article.

  • H-town Mack June 5, 2008, 11:56 AM

    Mega, you gotta be kidding right? Funny either way. Anyhow, just wondering why they don’t have more than one toilet up there. And wonder if they used that cool robot attachment to help install the lab.

  • Hex June 5, 2008, 2:31 PM

    >gods wishes…

    So you agree that there are more than one?

    MegaChrist (Probably a disgruntled ex-NASA employee) go away and leave us heathens be.

  • Kevin White June 5, 2008, 5:21 PM

    I feel kind of dumb for asking, but is that a photo?? I don’t think it is, but perhaps I’m wrong.

    I think god is going to have his hands too full with the LHC for the time being to worry about the ISS.

  • Chuck Lam June 6, 2008, 6:15 AM

    Can you imagine an early mission unrepairable toilet failure on a multi-month manned trip to Mars? Or a more halarious multi-generation mission to the Alpha C system. I wish NASA would get it’s head on straight and focus on projects beneficial to main stream America.

  • Stuart M June 6, 2008, 4:46 AM

    I don’t care what god thinks about the ISS because he doesn’t exist.

  • S Cena June 6, 2008, 5:08 AM

    Why is it that all the news about this shuttle mission is focused on the space toilet? Oh yeah, there’s that Kibo thing but they fixed the toilet! Every story I’ve heard or read about this missoin starts off with the toilet. It is as bad as the story about the astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida to confront her love rival and wore an astronaut diaper. That story was all about astronaut diapers.

    Come on folks. That may be important when you’re 6 years old but get over it. What’s next? Will the official greeting between station and shuttle commanders when they open the hatch be, “Pull my finger”?

    I’m interested in the science of space not how you flush.

  • Jozef K June 6, 2008, 6:05 AM

    I think MegaChrist is the best name i’ve ever seen. Holy crap.

  • Mang June 6, 2008, 6:23 AM

    When I first saw this article, I misread Kibo for KYBO, an acronym that refers to a latrine.

    Perhaps the irony of this will be lost on anyone who hasn’t but in time at a Scout camp.

  • alphonso richardson June 6, 2008, 7:06 AM

    Yeah, now the guys have uncrossed their legs, maybe they can tell us what reseach has ACTUALLY gone on aboard KIBO.

    Now don’t forget to wash your hands…………………………………….

  • H-town Mack June 6, 2008, 11:50 AM

    The reason the toilet fix is so important is because it would have compromised the ISS mission had they not been able to quickly repair it like they did.

  • Steve June 6, 2008, 3:23 PM

    too funny on that god is a mean spirit post. God hath more fury than a woman scorned!

    Anyhoo, I’m disappointed in the reuters video. It should’ve ended with a closeup of an astro/cosmonaut’s face suddenly relaxing to a smile…

    Ahhhhhhhh…..

  • Matthew January 8, 2009, 8:24 PM

    I have a question. At the end of the Reuters video it says solid waste is compressed and brought back to Earth. Why? What is the benefit?

  • How to Get Six Pack Fast April 15, 2009, 6:47 AM

    This topic is quite trendy on the Internet at the moment. What do you pay attention to when choosing what to write ?

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