• Avro Lancaster Bomber — One unknown airman describes his hatred of the Elsan [chemical toilet]: "While we were flying in rough air, this devils convenience often shared its contents with the floor of the aircraft, the walls, and ceiling and sometimes, a bit remained in the container itself. It doesn't take much imagination to picture what it was like trying to combat fear and airsickness while struggling to remove enough gear in cramped quarters and at the same time trying to use the bloody Elsan. If it wasn't an invention of the devil, it certainly must have been one foisted on us by the enemy. When seated in frigid cold amid the cacophony of roaring engines and whistling air, away from what should have been one of life's peaceful moments, the occupant had a chance to fully ponder the miserable condition of his life. This loathsome creation invariably overflowed on long trips and in turbulence was always prone to bathe the nether regions of the user. It was one of the true reminders to me that war is hell."
• Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress — "A sometimes humourous and usually urgent problem encountered was the elimination of liquid waste. On combat missions, we were often frightened and urine accumulated in large amounts during long missions. The outlet provided was a funnel and tube located in the bomb bay, which opened to the external air stream. This facility was used mostly by the pilots, flight engineer and radioman because of the easy accessibility to them. Other crew members had some access problems, especially when encumbered by oxygen hook-ups. Some carried sizeable cardboard food containers for such use."
"Returning from a mission over Germany, my crew had the trots and took it in turn to crap in a cardboard box which was quickly jettisoned. As the box fell, it hit the windscreen of a trailing B-17 in the formation and lodged frozen solid blocking the pilots view. Upon returning to base in England, the pilot had to land his aircraft by sticking his head out of the cockpit side window."
• Boeing B-29 Superfortress — "The whole crew was trying to hold back the 'runs' or 'trots' so we decided to open the bomb bay doors and to take it in turns to do what needed to be done in a more or less 'bombs away' fashion. Again air turbulence in the bomb bay was not kind to us and we ended up coating every nook and cranny of the bomb bay. What did make it into the slipstream streaked the underside of the aircraft and we would pay the price. The odour was forever with that plane and in the 120 degrees in the shade in India where our base was located, it was intolerable. The following day after our arrival back at base, we spent most of the day in the hot sun trying to clean up our airplane. So much for the glamour of combat flying."
• North American P-51 Mustang — "Oh no! The exterior exhaust end of the relief tube is iced up. There I sit, half finished, holding a container of steaming urine in my hand. My dilemma is abruptly terminated by an urgent radio call from my wing man. Red Leader, bandits seven o'clock high, coming in on your tail. Break left!
Disregarding everything, I grab the throttle and control stick and snap into a defensive Lufberry turn. The unconfined liquid splashed onto the windshield and canopy, freezing instantly. Tearing the gloves off my hands with my teeth, I frantically scratched at the yellow coating of ice restricting my visibility. At the same time, I kept my aircraft trembling on the edge of a high speed stall. My unrestricted visibility returned after the longest and busiest five minutes of my life, to reveal an empty sky. The lonely flight back to base, plus landing, proved uneventful.
My crew chief waited faithfully as I taxied back to the revetment area. After I parked and opened the canopy, this imperturbable mechanic stood on the wing and leaned into the cockpit to help me unbuckle all the straps. He sniffed the air like a bird dog and casually remarked;.It smells like you wus awful scared cap'n."
Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space, would probably have had a story to tell about this topic. “Do it in the suit!” – that’s what he heard back from the ground control center after inquiring how he can relieve himself during the Mercury Redstone 3 mission.
The incident, first openly described by Tom Wolfe in his book ‘The Right Stuff,” provoked historian Hunter Hollins to dig deeper into the issues of space-urination.
The results of his research have recently been published in the journal Advances in Physiology Education [detailed article: Forgotten hardware: how to urinate in a spacesuit]. “I was really amazed and kind of incredulous that they let him urinate in his space suit,” Hollins told ABC News in a recent interview, obviously reluctant to believe the great American rocket scientists could have forgotten about such basic human needs (or did they believe the super-human astronaut would be free from animal urges?).
According to available accounts, Alan Shepard, not having other options, peed into his space suit, short circuiting electronic sensors designed to monitor his heart and respiration.
On a balmy Thursday in February 2012, Artie Hughes and his wife were on the deck of their Long Island home, enjoying a spot of unseasonably warm weather. The early-evening calm had a palpable effect, and they basked in the unexpected mildness.
Then, from the sky, came a resounding splat. Blackish-green drek raining down on them as a plane flew overhead near JFK. Hughes’ wife -- who was never named in media reports, luckily for her Google footprint -- bore the brunt of the freak incident.
“Some black liquid, black oil came off on her face, and I walked around and I looked and said ‘Oh my God,’” Artie told reporters. “There was quarter-sized, nickel-sized, dime-sized drops all over my deck, my barbecue.”
At first, Hughes figured the stuff might be hydraulic fluid dripping from a passenger plane. He called police, who broke some grim news: They’d been doused in human excrement. Media attention followed, and Hughes, fuming, asked questions that were short on answers: “Was a button pushed? Was the lavatory filled to capacity before [the plane] actually left the ground?”
...At your left elbow is an intercom panel and an oxygen panel. Good idea to get hooked up to both since you’ve alerted the crew that you will be out of your seat to take a dump and now the pilot needs to know you’re on the pot and strapped in. Oh yeah, fasten your seatbelt, just like on the airline.
NASA Technical Reports Server
Biomedical Results of Apollo
Jan 01, 1975
[abstract, full PDF download]
Introduction to Section 6, Chapter 2. Waste Management System, p. 469:
Defecation and urination have been bothersome aspects of space travel from the beginning of manned space flight. Ideally, waste management systems for use in space would permit elimination of body wastes-and their collection to be accomplished as simply as they are on Earth. In the weightless environment, however, this is a difficult goal to achieve. Waste handling equipment must not only be designed to function in zero gravity, but must do so within the constraints of size, weight, and power imposed by spacecraft systems. These restrictions resulted in the use of the waste management systems described in this chapter.
The urine collection and transfer processes, with only minor modifications, were essentially the same for Apollo missions as they were for all prior United States space missions. Very simply described, the prime system used prior to Apollo 12 by unsuited crewmen employed the urine transfer system. This system consisted of a rubber cuff connected to a flexible collection bag. A new system, the urine receptacle assembly, was developed for Apollo and served as the prime system on Apollo 12 and all subsequent missions.
SP-368 Biomedical Results of Apollo - NASA History Office
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