Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bike Rage And Toilet Row On The ISS

Reuters - The International Space Station was once a place where astronauts were sharing a toilet and a bike. Now in 2009, it is said to be embroiled in a Cold War-like stand-off. Or is it?

It was 4 and a half years ago when the additional 3 crew members of Expedition 20 were shot up to the low earth orbit to conduct careful research on claustrophobia and its effects on humans. But after widespread criticism from below on why they couldn't achieve the same on earth and save costs of space travel, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Furykovev, and U.S astronauts George Smooth and Dr. Frank Jarr learnt that there was an untimely revision to their mission dossier.

To kill boredom while they waited on new orders, they surfed the internet and harmoniously shared in riding the Huffy at the corner, which itself was hooked to a Nashbar fluid trainer. Keeping bone density stable was priority.

The initial plans of the micro-gravity research lab was generous in providing national toilets. There was a toilet for China, for France, for Russia, for the United States, for the Christmas Islands... The toilets accommodated for the anthropometric proportions and complex ergonomics of people's rear ends. Comfort in space, said researchers, led to higher performance.

Ironically, space had space constraints. When multi-billionare Bill Great wanted to visit the space lab in 2005, they realized that the toilets came in the way of giving him a respectable accommodation. There were toilets everywhere. Only toilets. It was plain ridiculous.

Infact, when in 2006, the ISS went on a toilet diet, the mothership detached 2 of its boy's rooms and released them into a violent elliptical orbit towards the Indian Ocean. Bill Great was happy. He visited. He wrote an email to earth. He made space tourism history. A ferry took him home a day later, leaving the original baggy-eyed inhabitants behind.

Until 2008, there was still no mission plan in sight for the new members. And space can be a tough place, especially to be in a 10'x10' waiting room for 3 years and minus 2 toilets.

Two of them have apparently rocked the ship. Russian cosmonaut Furykovev recently filed a complaint that his U.S compatriots had begun a regimen of systematic bullying by not allowing him an equal share of the stationary bike. When he did get his chance to use it, they jeered at his tattooed arms, cycling cap and weight weenie legs.

"Why would anyone wear a messenger bag to ride a damn stationary bike?" snapped an irate Dr.Jarr.

"He rides the bike so damn hard that our ship rattles," complained Smooth. "He will destroy the Nashbar trainer."

"Soon, we'll have drops of bearing oil floating around, " added Jarr. "Space is at a premium here. We don't even have space for drops."

"I embraced tha fixed geer kaalture in my kaanthry," told a angry Furykovev to officials over satellite radio. "Why they make fun?"

Furykovev reported that the Americans took their own sweet time in the loo when they knew about the obvious facility limitations on board. When he left his proud comments on the restroom walls, they were 'marked up', adding further insult to injury. He took pictures of it and sent it to Moscow, complaining that he felt he's getting harassed and his rights encroached upon.

The standoff over the stationary bike, Yuri's idiosyncrasies and the toilet appears to mirror the dismal relationship between Moscow and Washington under the former US president George Bush and Russia's Vladimir Putin. It also reveals the tough life of long time space dwellers and the uncertainty of space travel.

Americans at home were however quick to respond. "While we understand astronauts are not allowed to exhibit unprofessional behaviors, in this case they are on their guard against a potential fixie hipster infestation of the ship, " justified one NASA official in Houston TX. "That shit can drive anyone nuts. Its worse than the Cold War."

Moscow isn't ready to compromise either. In order to lift the morale of their man high above the clouds, an order has been placed for a brand new, state-of-the-art toilet, specially made home cooked Russian food and a limited edition Huffy with white Aerospoke wheels to exercise and sleep with.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us informed on important stuff like this Ron.
I wonder if this topic will be discussed during the upcoming G20 Summit?
- Ryan

Jennie said...

Lol! Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I think the Huffy will be so heavy it'll divert the ISS off course. Bad choice for astronauts.