The first American in space wet himself

The first American in space wet himself

In 1961, hero Alan Shepherd was the first American to go into space. But NASA technicians had not considered that he might need to visit the little boy’s room during the first American space-flight. They thought that he could go to the loo just before putting on the pressurised suit and then wait until the mission was over and he was back on Earth to relieve himself again.

But after a longer-than-expected four-hour wait on the launch platform and several hours in flight Shepherd told Mission Control that he needed to relieve himself. Mission Control came back with the famous line “Do it in the suit”. This led to a malfunction on the suit’s life-monitoring systems.

The event was immortalised in the 1983 movie ‘The Right Stuff’:

Since then space-toilet technology has improved and astronauts can urinate into a long tube with a vacuum system sucking away the waste or they can sit down on a special space toilet on board the ISS.


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