The conditions under which astronauts and cosmonauts live and work in space are of continued interest to scholars and the public. One of the questions most often asked by schoolchildren (probably because the adults are too embarrassed to ask) is how astronauts go to the bathroom in space. This is an unflown example of a human waste disposal unit--a a toilet--designed for use on board the Mir space station.
The Mir space station was once the longest-occupied space station, marking nearly 15 years of continuous occupation between its launch and de-orbit, 1986-2001. This hardware was therefore an essential artifact of the life of astronauts and cosmonauts in Earth-orbit. This particular space toilet is configured for use by female cosmonauts.
Gift of American Standard Manufactured by JSC Zvezda, Russia