Astronauts hope they have a solution for getting a pivotal piece of equipment working so it can convert urine and sweat into drinkable water and allow the international space station to grow to six crew members.You don't find many workplaces in which the employees are queuing up to get to work so they can drink urine and sweat, do you? (Although to be fair the water apparently tastes perfectly normal when the system works properly).
Flight controllers asked station commander Michael Fincke on Sunday to change how a centrifuge is mounted in the $154 million water recycling system. The centrifuge is on mounts and Mission Control asked Fincke to remove them.
"Fantastic! That is something we can do," Fincke told Mission Control.
The astronauts have been working for the past three days to get the system running so that it can generate samples for testing back on Earth, but the urine processor only operates for two hours at a time before shutting down.
- Associated Press, 23 November 2008