Atlantis glides home with choked pee nozzle

No more dumps before terra firma?


Space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station today for its three-day return voyage to terra firma.

All systems are clear for the STS-129 mission's planned landing at Kennedy Space Center on Friday morning — with the small exception of a blockage in the craft's waste water dump line.

During a purge of the Atlantis' waste water tank on Wednesday, mission control noticed a reduction of flow from the waste water store nozzle, located on the left side of the shuttle. Astronauts used a camera on the spacecraft's robotic boom arm to see if an ice formation was clogging the plumbing, but didn't see any major obstructions.

"Capcom Megan McArthur told Commander Charles Hobaugh that it appears there is a slight discoloration that could be frost, but no ice. It is likely that there is a blockage in the line, which will not be a concern for a planned Friday landing," NASA said on its website.

NASA reckons it's unlikely that further waste dumps will be necessary before the landing. Our initial estimates confirm this hypothesis — barring a major Tang binge during the return journey.

Solid waste from the shuttle's toilet is compacted, dried and stored in bags where it is returned to Earth for cremation. Liquid waste from the toilet along with condensed moisture collected from the spacecraft's humidity sensor goes to the waste water tank, located beneath the crew compartment mid-deck floor.

The waste water tank's usable capacity is about 165 pounds and measures 35.5 inches long by 15.5 inches in diameter, according to NASA. A human bladder can hold about 2.2 pounds of urine at maximum capacity.

With seven crew members aboard Atlantis, we will assume each will have a full bladder twice per day, totaling 30.8 pounds of wee. On a three-day journey, (that's 92.4 pounds total), it leaves a good 72.6 pounds left over for collected shuttle humidity. ®

Bootnote

You'll just have to forgive the use of pounds in our estimates. That's the standard unit of mass used for measuring astronaut urine.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Did ID.me hoodwink Americans with IRS facial-recognition tech, senators ask
    Biz tells us: Won't someone please think of the ... fraud we've stopped

    Democrat senators want the FTC to investigate "evidence of deceptive statements" made by ID.me regarding the facial-recognition technology it controversially built for Uncle Sam.

    ID.me made headlines this year when the IRS said US taxpayers would have to enroll in the startup's facial-recognition system to access their tax records in the future. After a public backlash, the IRS reconsidered its plans, and said taxpayers could choose non-biometric methods to verify their identity with the agency online.

    Just before the IRS controversy, ID.me said it uses one-to-one face comparisons. "Our one-to-one face match is comparable to taking a selfie to unlock a smartphone. ID.me does not use one-to-many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic. Further, privacy is core to our mission and we do not sell the personal information of our users," it said in January.

    Continue reading
  • Meet Wizard Spider, the multimillion-dollar gang behind Conti, Ryuk malware
    Russia-linked crime-as-a-service crew is rich, professional – and investing in R&D

    Analysis Wizard Spider, the Russia-linked crew behind high-profile malware Conti, Ryuk and Trickbot, has grown over the past five years into a multimillion-dollar organization that has built a corporate-like operating model, a year-long study has found.

    In a technical report this week, the folks at Prodaft, which has been tracking the cybercrime gang since 2021, outlined its own findings on Wizard Spider, supplemented by info that leaked about the Conti operation in February after the crooks publicly sided with Russia during the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

    What Prodaft found was a gang sitting on assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars funneled from multiple sophisticated malware variants. Wizard Spider, we're told, runs as a business with a complex network of subgroups and teams that target specific types of software, and has associations with other well-known miscreants, including those behind REvil and Qbot (also known as Qakbot or Pinkslipbot).

    Continue reading
  • Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law
    Everyone's entitled to a viewpoint but what's your viewpoint on what exactly is and isn't a viewpoint?

    A coalition of advocacy groups on Tuesday asked the US Supreme Court to block Texas' social media law HB 20 after the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week lifted a preliminary injunction that had kept it from taking effect.

    The Lone Star State law, which forbids large social media platforms from moderating content that's "lawful-but-awful," as advocacy group the Center for Democracy and Technology puts it, was approved last September by Governor Greg Abbott (R). It was immediately challenged in court and the judge hearing the case imposed a preliminary injunction, preventing the legislation from being enforced, on the basis that the trade groups opposing it – NetChoice and CCIA – were likely to prevail.

    But that injunction was lifted on appeal. That case continues to be litigated, but thanks to the Fifth Circuit, HB 20 can be enforced even as its constitutionality remains in dispute, hence the coalition's application [PDF] this month to the Supreme Court.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022