The Space Shuttle and International Space Station are equipped with a toilet for the crews to use, but sometimes it is not possible to go there. During launch and return from flight, the astronauts must stay strapped into their seats while wearing airtight pressure suits. During extravehicular activity (spacewalks) they must work outside in the sealed spacesuit for up to eight hours. Few people can "hold it" that long, so astronauts may choose from a variety of disposable absorbent pads and pants for relief during these periods of confinement. During the rest of the mission when the toilet is accessible, they wear the same type of underwear they normally wear on Earth.
NASA gave the Museum a representative sample of the options available as practical solutions to an uncomfortable problem. This style, often called a MAG (Maximum Absorbent Garment), is adjustable to fit.
Transferred from NASA, Johnson Space Center.