CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. – NASA has agreed to pay $19 million for a Russian-built toilet system for the international space station. The figure may sound astronomical for a toilet in space, but NASA officials said weightlessness in space requires careful design to ensure that ‘things’ go where they are supposed to, and not fly around randomly..

Also, astronauts are familiar with how it works since it’s similar to one already in use at the space station. The new system will be able to transfer urine to a device that can produce drinking water.

The new system is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. side of the space station in 2008. The current toilet system on the Russian side of the station shown below>

is working satisfactorily, and won’t be replaced says the Russian Space Agency.