Space Station Crew Drinks Up To Recycled Urine

By James Anderson •  Updated: 05/21/09 •  2 min read

After the astronauts on the International Space Station finished up their communications with Space Shuttle Atlantis yesterday, the crew on the Space Station did something that no other astronaut has ever done before – drank recycled urine and sweat.

After installing the Urine Recycler in November of last year, and then having it break and then repaired again in March, the Urine Recycler is now fully functional and it has been fully tested. The previous shuttle crew that recently returned to Earth brought back samples of the recycled water to make sure it was safe to drink, and all tests came back fine.


So on Wednesday, the crew took their recycled urine and said “cheers” together and toasted the researchers and scientists that made the Urine Recycler possible. After drinking the water, they said the taste was great! They also said the water came with labels on it that said “drink this when real water is over 200 miles away.”

The new fully tested Urine Recycler was required to support a six-person crew on ISS and inevitably an outpost on the Moon and on Mars. The recycler will save millions of dollars on the costs to transport water from Earth to the space station and then onward.

Perhaps one day, we’ll see similar systems installed in our households that can recycle bath water and perhaps even water from our toilets that can then be recycled back into the main water line or into some sort of freshwater holding take within our homes.

Keep Reading