Hardware Version

Version Used During the Apollo Missions

The Apollo Waste Management System consisted of a urine subsystem and a fecal subsystem. The principal elements of the urine subsystem were the Urine Receptacle Assembly (URA), the Urine Transfer System (UTS), the Urine Collection and Transfer Assembly (UCTA) and, for several missions, Urine Collection Devices (UCDs) used to collect samples which were retained for post-flight analysis. For the Apollo missions, the urine collection and transfer processes, with only minor modifications, were essentially the same as they were for all prior United States space missions. The prime system used prior to Apollo 12 by unsuited crewmen employed the UTS. The URA was developed for Apollo 12 and all subsequent missions; UTS served as a backup system during Apollo 12 a later missions. When the crew wore space suits during launch, extravehicular activity, and emergency modes, the UCTA was worn over the liquid cooling garment (which was worn under the space suit).

Urine Receptacle Assembly (URA) - The URA was an open-ended, cylindrical container that could be hand-held. The receptacle was connected by a quick-disconnect fitting to a flexible urine overboard dump line, which in turn was connected by a quick-disconnect fitting to the waste management panel. The URA could accommodate a maximum urine flow of 40 milliliters per second. The URA had volumetric capacity of 480 milliliters, but the effective system capacity was 700 milliliters with concurrent urination and overboard dumping.

Urine Transfer System (UTS) - The UTS consisted of a roll-on cuff, a receiver, a valve with a manifold, a collection bag, and a quick-disconnect fitting. The roll-on cuff was a rubber tube (similar to a condom) that functioned as an external catheter between the penis and the receiver/ valve. The cuff was designed to be used for one day (5 to 6 urinations), then discarded. Ten additional color-coded cuffs per crewman were stowed. The receiver to which the cuff was attached was a short tube containing a low-pressure differential check valve (262 N/m2 or 0.038 psi) and a bypass valve. The UTS could be used in two modes: (1) overboard dumping while voiding or (2) overboard dumping subsequent to voiding. In mode 1, the UTS was connected to the overboard dump system during the time of voiding. In the second mode, the urine was collected in the UTS bag. This collection bag was connected to the overboard dump system after voiding to dump the urine overboard. The urine collection bag had a capacity of 1200 milliliters. For reasons of sanitation, each crewmember was provided his own UTS.

Urine Collection and Transfer Assembly (UCTA) - The UCTA was designed to facilitate urination when the crewmen were wearing pressure suits, such as during extravehicular activity. The assembly was worn over the liquid cooling garment. The UCTA consisted of a roll-on cuff and collection bladder worn around the waist. Urine collected in the UCTA could be drained either while the crewman was in the suit or after the suit was removed by connecting the urine transfer hose to the spacecraft waste management panel.

When urine was collected for postflight analysis, two other pieces of hardware were required. These were the return enhancement water bag (REWB) and the biomedical urine sampling system (BUSS). During the Apollo 16 mission, one REWB (per crewmember) was provided to recover 24-hour pooled urine samples collected in flight with the UTS. In-flight samples were also collected during the Apollo 17 mission. Twenty-four-hour samples were collected from each crewman on each day of the Command Module occupancy by use of the BUSS. The BUSS consisted of two plastic film containers -- a 24-hour pooling container and a collection container. One BUSS was used per man per day. This provided for the transfer of a sample of pooled urine for return to Earth, with the transfer of the remaining urine volume to the Command Module urine overboard dump system for disposal.

The BUSS collection container measured 30 cm2 and incorporated a receiver/valve assembly at one corner. The collection container had a capacity of 3000 ml. The pooling bag for each BUSS contained a known amount of lithium chloride so that post-flight volume determination could be made from returning samples. The pooling bag also contained boric acid for urine preservation. At the end of each 24-hour pooling period, the container was interconnected with its sample container by mating quick disconnects, and a representative portion of the 24-hour pool was forced into the sample container. This container had a capacity of 125 milliliters.

Experiment Participation
Skip to page content Experiment + Clinical Biochemistry   (AP004)
+ Endocrine, Electrolyte, and Fluid Volume Changes Associated with Apollo Missions   (AP008)

Mission Participation
Skip to page content Experiment +Apollo 8   (Apollo 8)
+Apollo 9   (Apollo 9)
+Apollo 10   (Apollo 10)
+Apollo 11   (Apollo 11)
+Apollo 12   (Apollo 12)
+Apollo 13   (Apollo 13)
+Apollo 14   (Apollo 14)
+Apollo 15   (Apollo 15)
+Apollo 16   (Apollo 16)
+Apollo 17   (Apollo 17)
+Apollo 7   (Apollo 7)