NASA's International Space Station Expedition 19 crew recently toasted the ability to recycle and purify human and rat urine in space. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Koichi Wakata celebrated the news that the station’s new recycling system had adequately purified urine to make it fit for human consumption with a toast in the Destiny laboratory.

The ability to recycle human and animal waste is an important milestone in the development of the station's environmental and life support systems.

"Everybody's talked about recycling water in a closed loop system, but nobody's ever done it before. Here we are today with the first round of recycled water," said Flight Engineer Mike Barratt.

"This system will reduce the amount of water we must launch to the station…and also test out a key technology required for sending humans on long duration missions to the moon and Mars,” said Kirk Shireman, International Space Station deputy program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The Water Recovery System is tied into the station's waste and hygiene compartment toilet and recovers and recycles moisture from the station's atmosphere.


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