August 13, 2005

Horse 386 (compy) - Wee-Wee In Space!

Picture this, the USSR had got the jump on the Americans during the space race. Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite in space and this four pound little bleeping ball threatened the free world. It would have been enough for the Americans to wee themselves, well guess what, it was.
Passing through people's kidney's every hour is one third of your body weight in water.

Consequently as a waste disposal system they work extremely well and generate 1ml of urine a minute. It's a well known fact that in cold weather, one's bladder shinks, also under pressure the bladder is squeezed meaning that you're more likely to go to the toilet in a wetsuit than if you were just swimming. Now multiply that by about 3 hours and put a person in such conditions into a space capsule.

The Freedom 7 flight of Alan Shepherd was delayed due to inclement weather. So for three hours, the spacecraft was held on the launch pad. Three hours in a cold environment that would prove to be hillarous.

With only 15 minutes to go, it was necessary to hold the count again to make a final check of the real-time trajectory computer. A small electrical part had a problem and this resulted in another hour and twenty six minute delay. Shepard was on top of the Redstone rocket for so long now that he had to urinate. "Gordo!" he said, talking to Gordon Cooper, a fellow Mercury Seven astronaut and principal prelaunch communicator. "Go, Alan." "Man, I got to pee." "You what?" "You heard me. I've got to pee. I've been up here forever."

Shepard wanted to be let out but there wasn't time to let him out and then reassemble the spacecraft and connect it all up. Thinking that he could be up there for hours, he told them he was going to do it in his suit. Unfortunately, there was no urine collection system and the medics were concerned he would short-circuit the leads. "Tell 'em to turn the power off!" Alan snapped. Cooper, with a chuckle in his voice said, "Okay, Alan. Power's off. Go to it."

Shepard couldn't hold back any longer and the liquid pooled in the small of his back. The medicos went psycho as they couldn't understand the bizarre readings they were getting, they honestly thought he had died or was introuble before someone at mission control told them. Soon, his heavy gauge magic underpants and undergarments soaked up the urine, and with 100 percent oxygen flowing through the suit he was soon dry. The countdown resumed.

At T- minus two minutes and forty seconds and counting, Shepard heard that dreaded word again, "Hold". There was a little computer problem. Getting frustrated, he yelled, "I've been in here more than three hours. I'm a hell of a lot cooler than you guys. Why don't you just fix your little problem and light this candle?"

Wee-wee went into space on that first flight, and they learnt very very quickly what we all know. Did you go before you went?

Wee-wee-wee all the way home.

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