How do you take a shower in space? In case you were planning a stay on the International Space Station, an Italian astronaut has released a video showing exactly that, step by step.
Samantha Cristoforetti, the first female Italian astronaut, likes
to video blog her everyday life in orbit. In her latest video,
she takes a shower, and doesn’t mind you watching.
As shown in the video, the process is rather similar to what you
would do on Earth: water, soap, shampoo, rinse and repeat. Except
for the “rinse” part: Samantha explains that the ISS crew use
special, no-rinse shampoo. It is necessary due to how water
behaves in space: it floats around in balls or sticks to
surfaces, making it next to impossible to wash the shampoo off.
The ISS’s water-recycling system does not let a drop go wasted.
This is especially important for the crew at this time, as it has
been advised to save resources.
In late April, 2.5 tons
of supplies for the ISS were lost when the Russian Progress cargo
spacecraft entered an uncontrolled spin and went off orbit before
it could dock with the station. About a ton of those supplies
were replacement elements for the station’s life support systems,
including water filters.
While the ISS has reserve supplies stocked for just such an
event, ground control has now advised the crew to use
replaceables until they are completely worn out, just in case.
The normal practice is to replace them as soon as the
predetermined life cycle has run out.
Despite the hardships of living 400 kilometers above Earth,
earthly comforts are not too far away, and Samantha Cristoforetti
is an expert on attaining them. On Sunday she managed to brew the
first-ever cup of real Italian espresso in space, using a coffee
machine that was specially built by Italian coffee and aerospace
companies and delivered aboard the Dragon spacecraft.