Authentic  Russian Zero-Gravity Space Toilet
Part of the International Space Collection of  HighTechScience.org

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MIR Zero-Gravity Space Station Toilet

    This is an actual Zero-Gravity Toilet Assembly from a
Soyuz Spacecraft that flew
to the MIR Space Station

It is a Real Piece of
Russian Space History.

Cosmonauts living and working in space have the same hygiene needs as people on Earth. They wash their hair, brush their teeth, shave and go to the bathroom. However, due to the zero gravity environment, they use different methods to take care of themselves verses here on Earth. Life in space does present certain difficulties around personal hygiene. There is only one tiny bathroom, containing a urinal, an odor bacteria filter and vacuum vent.

The urinal has a flexible
hose with attachable funnels. Each cosmonaut has a personal funnel, differently shaped for men and women.

The zero gravity toilet uses airflow to carry
waste away from the cosmonaut's body.

There is also a holding
tank which stores the waste
until it can be processed
by onboard systems.

These types of toilets
were also used aboard
the Salyut spacecraft.

Here is the Zero-Gravity Toilet mounted on a
display board.

MIR Zero-Gravity Space Station Toilet
Here is our Zero Gravity Toilet on display at the Museum of Discovery & Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Here is a modern Zero-Gravity Toilet
onboard the International Space Station.

 

Astronauts "clamp" themselves to the toilet because of the weightless environment.

    On each side of the toilet seat are things that look like handles. Prior to solid waste collection, an astronaut floats over the seat, pulls up on these handles (against a spring force) and twists them inward over their thighs. The spring force clamps the thighs and keeps the astronaut from floating away. Urine is distilled to create purified water. The recovered water is pure enough to drink, but few astronauts are willing to do so. So the recovered water is mostly used in the Electron unit.

   The "Electron" passes electricity through water, separating it into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is vented as a waste product, and the oxygen is added to the station’s atmosphere. Solid waste goes into bags that are stored in airtight containers, which are eventually loaded onto Progress freighters that burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.


 Zero-Gravity Toilets became famous when the
movie "2001, A Space Odyssey" came out in 1968.

  In a now infamous scene, one of the main characters goes to the restroom in outer space. He encounters a very long list of instructions (Shown Below) on how to use the Zero-Gravity Toilet onboard the ship.

ZERO GRAVITY TOILET

PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO
READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE

  1. The toilet is of the standard zero-gravity type. Depending on requirements, System A and/or System B can be used, details of which are clearly marked in the toilet compartment. When operating System A, depress lever and a plastic dalkron eliminator will be dispensed through the slot immediately underneath. When you have fastened the adhesive lip, attach connection marked by the large "X" outlet hose. Twist the silver colored ring one inch below the connection point until you feel it lock.
  2. The toilet is now ready for use. The Sonovac cleanser is activated by the small switch on the lip. When securing, twist the ring back to its initial-condition, so that the two orange line meet. Disconnect. Place the dalkron eliminator in the vacuum receptacle to the rear. Activate by pressing the blue button.
  3. The controls for System B are located on the opposite wall. The red release switch places the uroliminator into position; it can be adjusted manually up or down by pressing the blue manual release button. The opening is self adjusting. To secure after use, press the green button which simultaneously activates the evaporator and returns the uroliminator to its storage position.
  4. You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door. If the red light is illuminated, one of the lavatory facilities is not properly secured. Press the "Stewardess" call button on the right of the door. She will secure all facilities from her control panel outside. When green exit light goes on you may open the door and leave. Please close the door behind you.
  5. To use the Sonoshower, first undress and place all your clothes in the clothes rack. Put on the Velcro slippers located in the cabinet immediately below. Enter the shower. On the control panel to your upper right upon entering you will see a "Shower seal" button. Press to activate. A green light will then be illuminated immediately below. On the intensity knob select the desired setting. Now depress the Sonovac activation lever. Bathe normally.
  6. The Sonovac will automatically go off after three minutes unless you activate the "Manual off" over-ride switch by flipping it up. When you are ready to leave, press the blue "Shower seal" release button. The door will open and you may leave. Please remove the Velcro slippers and place them in their container.
  7. If the red light above this panel is on, the toilet is in use. When the green light is illuminated you may enter. However, you must carefully follow all instructions when using the facilities during coasting (Zero G) flight. Inside there are three facilities: (1) the Sonovac, (2) the Sonoshower, (3) the toilet. All three are designed to be used under weightless conditions. Please observe the sequence of operations for each individual facility.
  8. Two modes for Sonowashing your face and hands are available, the "moist-towel" mode and the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaner mode. You may select either mode by moving the appropriate lever to the "Activate" position.

    If you choose the "moist-towel" mode, depress the indicated yellow button and withdraw item. When you have finished, discard the towel in the vacuum dispenser, holding the indicated lever in the "active" position until the green light goes on...showing that the rollers have passed the towel completely into the dispenser. If you desire an additional towel, press the yellow button and repeat the cycle.

  9. If you prefer the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaning mode, press the indicated blue button. When the twin panels open, pull forward by rings A & B. For cleaning the hands, use in this position. Set the timer to positions 10, 20, 30 or 40...indicative of the number of seconds required. The knob to the left, just below the blue light, has three settings, low, medium or high. For normal use, the medium setting is suggested.
  10. After these settings have been made, you can activate the device by switching to the "ON" position the clearly marked red switch. If during the washing operation, you wish to change the settings, place the "manual off" over-ride switch in the "OFF" position. you may now make the change and repeat the cycle.

In September, 2003 we were fortunate enough to actually acquire an authentic Zero-Gravity Toilet that was used on a Soyuz Spacecraft

We also have a  MIR Space Station Window Assembly
in our collection.
  Click Here for Pictures & Info.

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