Nugget of Knowledge: Laundry on the Space Station

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – We can easily change clothes after a busy day here on Earth, but what if there is no washing machine within 250 miles?

That’s how far up the International Space station orbits and it has no way to clean an astronaut’s clothes.

Packing enough clothes to spend several months on the Space Station is literally impossible.

Packing enough underwear for three members of an ISS expedition crew to have a clean pair for every day of a six-month stay would mean launching at least 540 pairs of underwear into orbit.

There’s no dresser drawer big enough.

It costs between $5,000 and $10,000 per pound to launch it into space, which would be some very expensive underwear.

The astronauts change their underwear once every three or four days. That’s not quite as bad as it sounds, since clothes don’t get dirty as quickly on the Space Station as they do on Earth.

It’s a controlled environment, the temperature stays constant and everything around you is virtually weightless, so you’re not exerting yourself. However, you do have to exercise daily.

In addition to underwear, the astronauts wear a lot of the same clothes.

You don’t take home your dirty clothes, so they’re loaded onto a Russian rocket that brings up supplies and takes away trash

This trash does not return to Earth. Rather, it burns up in the atmosphere.

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