The competition heats up: The Russians are including a bathroom in their next generation manned vehicle, something they note Orion will not have.
A new Russian spaceship for trips to the moon or the International Space Station will have at least one crucial advantage over its American rival – a toilet, one of the craft’s developers said Friday. “I don’t think I need to elaborate on how a waste-collection system is much more comfortable than the diapers that astronauts aboard the [US spacecraft] Orion will have to use,” said Vladimir Pirozhkov of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, which is involved in the development of the Russian ship. “Besides, the Russian segment of the International Space Station [ISS] has a limited number of toilets, which means a spacecraft with an extra ‘space toilet’ will come in handy,” he added.
As much as I am skeptical of Orion and SLS, I am equally skeptical of the Russian claims of a next generation manned spacecraft. They have been unveiling these proposals now for more than a decade, with nothing ever getting built. With Orion we at least have an existing capsule, even if its bulkhead needed to fixed.
Though I will agree with them on one point: Putting a toilet on a vehicle intended to go beyond Earth orbit, which Orion is supposed to be designed to do, makes common sense. That NASA didn’t include this essential item in Orion reveals to us the unseriousness of the spacecraft.