The Russians are including a bathroom in their next generation manned vehicle, something they note Orion will not have.


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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.

12 comments

  • DougSpace

    Man, that’s got to add up to a lot of diapers!

  • wade

    the SLS and the Orion are birds that will Never Fly.

  • joe

    looks like a crappy situation to me!

  • Pzatchok

    Maybe they plan on getting to the moon before anyone has to use the head.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    HA ! !

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Interesting topic I hadn’t thought about before re: the new generation of spacecraft. The Shuttle had a toliet, right? I thought those “diapers” were only used during the launch phase & once in orbit they used some type of sealable bags for waste – anyone know? What about SpaceX’s Dragon – I assume it also does NOT have a tolilet system – or does it ??? Knowing them, it wouldn’t surprise me if they already had something in the works…

  • The shuttle had a toilet. And yes, it makes no sense to plan on doing interplanetary travel without one, which provides us clear evidence that NASA’S SLS system and Orion capsule is not serious about doing interplanetary travel.

    As for Dragon, I don’t think it has a toilet, but then, it was specifically designed just to get people up the ISS and low Earth orbit. If SpaceX gets Falcon Heavy flying they will have the capacity to build a much more sophisticated spacecraft. Or not. The cheaper and smarter choice would be to use Dragon to get into orbit, and a Bigelow space module (with restroom) to go beyond.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Thanks for the enlightenment, Bob ! ! That makes a lot of sense to me…

    BTW – during a discussion of long-term spaceflight a few months ago, you recommended to a couple of us to read your book Leaving Earth, which I did while on vaction back in May, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be – I was always more thrilled with things like the pioneering first launches into space, or the Apollo Moon landing, even the Shuttle, but had no idea the incredible challenges faced by the many Astronauts & Cosmonauts on Spacelab, Mir, and eventually the ISS, often having to adapt on the fly to new & unforseen circumstances. There were times of real danger – things I’d never heard about – and moments of humor as well. Excellent read…

  • Chris Kirkendall

    OOPS – meant Skylab, not Spacelab…

  • Thank you for the kind review. I am glad you liked Leaving Earth. I am also sure that it is now giving you a better idea of the context of what the Russians and Chinese are doing in space, vs the U.S.

    It also makes clear how much of a joke Orion is. There is no way is that capsule an interplanetary spaceship.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Yes – it really brought into the focus the challenges of long-term space travel – but also provided some hope that it CAN be done, if done right…

  • John

    I bet. Cause it never will. It aint a bird, its a spqcecraft that flew.

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