Russia develops washing machine for space

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 30 March 2019, 07:51 AM
Russia’s Energia Space corporation announced this on its YouTube page (File Photo)
Russia’s Energia Space corporation announced this on its YouTube page (File Photo)

Astronauts need not to pack clean clothes to last a whole mission, Russia’s Energia Space corporation that builds spacecrafts has started developing the first washing machine to clean clothes in outer space. The company announced this on its YouTube page. “By the way, for future lunar expeditions and other interplanetary crafts, RKK Energiya has started developing a special space washing machine,” the voiceover says, without giving further details. Astronauts usually wear the same outfit for three to four days and then throw them away with other rubbish.

In 2017, a Russian space industry journal published a paper by RKK Energiya researchers with a description and diagrams of a washing machine that could be used on the ISS.

It said that for three crew members, up to 660 kilogrammes (1,450 lbs) of clothes have to be ferried to the ISS over a year.

For a two-year flight to Mars with six crew members this could increase to three tonnes, the authors warned.    

Having onboard “equipment for hygienic treatment (washing) could significantly lessen the stocks of personal hygiene products and items of clothing,” the report said.

Earlier, NASA postponed first all-women spacewalk due to spacesuit issues. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were scheduled to set the record in space on March 29. The astronauts would have continued work installing lithium-ion batteries to outer parts of the International Space Station." Mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station," NASA said in a statement.

McClain, who demonstrated her battery-swapping skills during last week's spacewalk, will have to sit out this week due to a spacesuit sizing issue. 

"McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso — essentially the shirt of the spacesuit fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it," NASA officials said.

"We will do our best to anticipate the spacesuit sizes that each astronaut will need, based on the spacesuit size they wore in training on the ground, and in some cases astronauts train in multiple sizes," Brandi Dean, spokeswoman of the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, told news agency AFP.

"In addition, no one training environment can fully simulate performing a spacewalk in microgravity, and an individual may find that their sizing preferences change in space," she added.

The pair, along with Hague, were selected as part of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013.

First Published: Saturday, March 30, 2019 07:48 AM
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