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back to article Endeavour launch heralds new dawn for piss-drinking

Space shuttle Endeavour safely blasted off from Kennedy Space Center this evening, delivering extra living space for the International Space Station and the promise of cold, refreshing recycled urine on tap. As part of their 15-day mission, the astronauts will deliver two new sleeping units, a kitchenette, exercise equipment, …

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british haeumour

>> The water recycling equipment can process a full day's wastewater in less than 24 hours.<<

is there a name for this kind of sarcasm?

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Coat

Say it aint so

"The shuttle also brings a $250m wastewater recycling kit designed to purify urine and evaporated perspiration into clean drinking water.

"We did a blind taste test of the water," said NASA's Bob Bagdigian, the system's lead engineer told the BBC. "Nobody had any strong objections. Other than a faint taste of iodine, it is just as refreshing as any other kind of water."

$250 million? TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY BLOODY FUCKING MILLION!!!???

Seriously? Dont we have better things to spend money on then THIS?

And not to mention "We did a blind taste test"......I really hope to god that the testers WERE blind....else they might have noticed the yellow tinge to the water.

/Hat, coat, funnel please. Thanks

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The water recycling equipment can process a full day's wastewater in less than 24 hours.

Well, if it couldn't, it'd be pretty fucking useless wouldn't it?

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Coat

$250m for a piss filter?

it's the blooming Fisher Space Pen all over again! The Septics spend a fortune on inventing some technology and the Ruskies use a pencil!

I mean... certain breweries have just been putting bubbles in it an selling it for years (and I suspect Iron Brew is the Scots taking the piss out of all of us somehow)

I've seen Waterworld ... I'm sure Kevin Costner didn't have a $250m filter on his little boat!

Yours is the jacket with the wet handprint (no towels in the gents)

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Unhappy

Yeah, $250,000,000 seems like a lot of money...

...but, it's less than one dollar for every septic out there. :-)

OffBeatMammal: According to Snopes, the story of the Fisher Space Pen vs. the Ruskie has a grain of truth to it, but is far from the full truth: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

But still, the idea of spending that much on a water-treatment facility that only needs to be big enough to support 6 people does sound ludicrous. Except that it also has to work in weightlessness, survive temperature extremes, survive the G-forces of take-off, and needs to be utterly reliable. (While having your water-supply dry up is not nearly as bad as your oxygen running out, it is still rather inconvenient. )

Then, add in the research needed, plus the fact that it's a one-off construction, with no economies of scale or broad amortising of costs, and all the testing to make sure it does meet those requirements, and you can easily end up with a device costing upwards of $25 million.

What's that? You say it actually costs $250 million, not just $25 million?

MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!!! Sorry NASA, I tried my best to defend you, but by Einsein's Beard, how the flying fk do you justify that?

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Unhappy

Aww, I got all excited.

Here I thought it was a breakthrough. You know, like Tang.

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Silver badge

What do you think you are dinking?

In the UK, sewerage plant output has to be processed to drinking water quality. Guess what happens next.

A quick web search for reverse osmosis drinking water shows a 50GPD system for $199. If they mean US liquid gallons per day, that is about 190Kg/day. In the UK people average 150Kg/day (380Kg/day in the US). Even if 10 astronauts use drinking water to water the garden and wash the car and flush the loo, $4000 should be enough.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Someone is taking the piss...

By blind test, did they mean that the drinkers did not go blind afterwards?

OK, OK, I'll get my coat, the title deserves it, but someone had to try to be first...

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Paris Hilton

Re: Say it aint so

1. It also works as a dehumidifier.

2. It has to use reverse osmosis and/or a couple of other technologies which require no extra chemicals and it takes full "dump" not just "miller light" on the input so there is also the issue of filtering, solid separation and so on.

3. It has to have MTBF in the 5+ years range.

4. It all has to work in a weightless environment

So with all due respect, a piss filter will not do here. While 250M is a bit on the extreme, developing such a device with less than a double digit (million) budget does not look like possible.

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Space pen

They did not spend millions on a space pen. That's a myth.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

Myths, discombobulated.

"The Septics spend a fortune on inventing some technology and the Ruskies use a pencil!"

As an "in the trenches" dude back in the mid 70s thru' late 80s, I can assure you that carbon from pencils caused a whole lot of trouble in electronic circuitry.

You see, there were these little four or eight-bit switches that people toggled with pencil points ... and promptly shorted out the logic circuits. I have seen it, I have fixed it. It happened.

The "space pen" was another issue entirely.

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Joke

Classic line

<astronaut> Do we drink each others or stick to our own?

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Coat

Why not..

just issue stillsuits to the ISS crew?

The one with the gom jabbar in the pocket, thanks.

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Coat

Duh...

Would dehydrated turds burning up on re-entry be shiiting star?

I know that Mir stank inside of stale sweat and farts. But is not also the case that taste and smell don't work so good?

What was the name of the space chimp who beat himself off as stress-relief? I've worked with people like that.

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Waste of money

Just stick a Budweiser label on it and the US astronauts would pay to drink it unprocessed...

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Boffin

Re the usual 'piis drinking' jokes

Where do you think the water down here comes from?

There's really pure water here in London - it must be, it's been filtered through so many kidneys.

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Thumb Up

I think $250m is not bad...

...licence that technology out and you will easy make that back and plus with future missions going further and needing to fly light this will pay itself anyway.

Look beyond your noses people, it's like the Labour government on El Reg at the moment.

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Bronze badge
Joke

Why didn't they..

..simply have one extra shuttle launch, with nowt but a big-fuc*k-off water tank on board, and float it near the ISS, connected by a hose?? 'Bout the same cost, and bit more reliable.

Who's gonna get a swift nack in the kickers when that high-tech piss-filter goes the same way as that bloody 'fridge, and gets tossed to Earth?

(Incidentally, would that be "giving the piss")?

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Boffin

I watched it...

I stayed up and watched it last night...

The TV presenter actually tried the water and said it tasted "no worse than any other bottled water"... even after the tech describing the machine said of the sample "there's probably a bit of me in there"

Yes, $250m is expensive, but they will have got an extremely useful bit of kit out of it... how much would it cost to send regular supplies of water up to the station over the lifetime of the unit? Especially when the shuttles stop flying? Also, they will have at least 3 of them (a spare and a test unit) and several spares I expect, so the price per unit does come down a bit

All went smoothly, other than the "no-go for launch" at 15 minutes before because some pleb had forgotten to pin a door back in the white room!!

Also, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper for some reason is known as "Heidi Piper"

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Paris Hilton

What's the problem?

I dunno why people are complaining so much about the $250M. Either you want manned spaceflight or you don't. Anything involving manned spaceflight is expensive because you have to care about little details like not making holes in your astronauts that you needn't care about for robotic missions.

Would $250M not spent of space-khazis be better spent elsewhere? Unlikely. Governments don't tend to work that way. If the money and engineering resources weren't spent on that they'd be spent on, eg. military space-laser-zap tech. Or ID cards. Or maybe the money could be spent paying chavs to have more unwanted babies. Or to strategy boutiques to come up with new logos for the Department of Personal Information Misplacement.

Water recovery systems will be critical to missions, eg. a manned trip to Mars, or colonization of the Moon. Check out the price of launching a days supply of water from Earth to the Moon. Or Mars.

By all means argue against the cost-effectiveness of manned spaceflight, but if you're for it you have to accept that the costs can be eye-watering.

Paris: because she knows a thing or two about taking the piss.

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Anonymous Coward

Relief?

"Magnus will remain at the space station, relieving Gregory Chamitoff, "

Just as well she brought a $250m loo, then...

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Coat

A small piss for a man, a giant leak for all mankind

The slightly stained anorak, olease

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Coat

Lister to RedDwarf...

...we've recycled the water supply so many times it's beginning to taste like Dutch lager.

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Coat

They should market this as..

... I Can't Believe It's Not Piss.

I think its a go-er.

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Launch costs

250 million seems pretty high but considering the obscene cost of launching weight to the station, it'll pay for itself pretty quick!

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Is it just me...

or did anyone else think that a few crates of beer were being flown up there?

btw I am an aussie where getting on the piss is a national past time.

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Thumb Down

Pencil?

Pencils are a great idea in space, because what you really need in a zero-gravity environment relying on life-or-death electronics is tiny conductive graphite particles floating around. Excellent work.

(That's sarcasm, in case you missed it.)

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Makes sense

It's $25,000 for the unit, and $249,975,000 for the 3 year on-site service contract.

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Something is missing in space

which normal machines might need to work...that might explain the additional expense??

Plus the weight for lift, user accessible repair and so forth?

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I say

Kinda takes the glory out of being an astronaut, doesn't it ?

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Joke

Re: Warhelmet

"What was the name of the space chimp who beat himself off as stress-relief?"

That would be Dubya.

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wsm

Re: Makes sense

Has the BOFH taken on a space-supplies contract?

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Unhappy

Already had some

I had some in the pub last night. It said pils on the bottle, but I think that must be a mis-spelling.

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Coat

Fremen Tech

Hm... it seems like NASA has made the first step towards the Fremen Stillsuit. I recall that one recycled water from both #1 and #2's.

Arrakis is waiting!

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Alien

You have to walk without rhythm...

...so you won't attract a Worm

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