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Real space stories

Smuggling on Gemini 3

This spacecraft represented a historic achievement for the United States. It was the first American multi-person crewed spacecraft and the first to perform an orbital maneuver.

It also made its mark in space history as the first means of delivering contraband into space. Capsule pilot John Young secretly carried this beef sandwich into orbit because he could not tolerate dehydrated food. But the attempt was unsuccessful. Sandwich crumbs scattered throughout the capsule. Young had to hide it back in his suit pocket.

Gemini 7 with urine particles

As part of the Gemini 7 mission, the crew had to collect their urine for later analysis. But the collection device leaked several times. Despite their best efforts, the team was unable to collect all the urine balls floating around the capsule. To understand the drama of the moment, you need to know that the habitable volume of the Gemini capsule is 2.55 cubic meters. The astronauts were stuck there for 13 days and 19 hours in zero gravity with particles of their own urine flying around. Later, when asked about the experience of the flight, the crew compared it to spending two weeks in the men’s room. A very small toilet the size of a sub-compact car, without a cleaner or air fresheners.

The mystery of Apollo 10

One of humanity’s greatest unsolved mysteries: who had a bad trip to the toilet in the Apollo 10 module on the sixth day of the flight?

The Apollo 10 mission was the last expedition to the Moon before landing. As part of the flight, the ship’s crew had to repeat and once again check all the operations that the Apollo 11 team had to carry out, except for the last stage – the landing itself on the surface. On the sixth day of the flight, five hours before turning on the engine to carry out the return to Earth maneuver, a spicy conversation took place in the command module.

5:13:29:44 Commander: Oh, who did this?
5:13:29:46 Command module pilot: Who did what?
5:13:29:47 Lunar module pilot: What?
5:13:29:49 Commander: Who did this? [Laughs.]
5:13:29:51 Lunar module pilot: Where did this come from?
5:13:29:52 Commander: Hurry, give me a napkin. There’s a shit floating in the air.
5:13:29:55 Command Module Pilot: I didn’t do it. That’s not mine.
5:13:29:57 Lunar module pilot: I don’t think it’s mine.
5:13:29:59 Commander: Mine was stickier. Throw it away.
5:13:30:06 Command Module Pilot: Oh, my God.
5:13:30:08 [Laughter]

The Apollo 10 flight was marked in the history of astronautics not only by the toilet incident. After separating the lunar module in orbit around the Moon and testing a joint orbital flight, a glitch occurred in the module’s program, which made the capsule uncontrollable for a short period of time. Fortunately, the failure did not lead to major damage, emergency mission cancellation, or casualties. Pilot Cernan’s heart rate rose to 129 beats per minute. 

And for those few minutes, while the module was spinning uncontrollably, the astronauts turned into real sailors and remembered every dirty word, describing the lunar surface that appeared and disappeared through the window. When the team returned safely to Earth, a welcoming banner from their colleagues awaited them: “Apollo 10 Flight – Adults Only.”

Who flew Apollo 8?

Apollo 8 launched five months before the Apollo 10 mission and was the first spacecraft to fly humans to another celestial body. And his flight took place on Christmas night, which the team spent in lunar orbit. To thank them for their sacrifice for the good of humanity, Mission Control included three miniature bottles of brandy for the celebratory dinner. This led to awkward situations in space. The son of one of the flight controllers asked who was flying the ship if they were all drunk. To which astronaut William Anders replied: “I think Isaac Newton is basically in charge now.”

Alcohol in space

Officially, you cannot drink alcohol in space. But throughout the history of exploration of near-Earth space, astronauts have violated this prohibition. This happened in the Soviet Union too. Georgy Grechko told how on his second flight, when he arrived at the Salyut-6 station, together with Yuri Romanenko they found a flask with the inscription “Eleutherococcus-K”. This is an energy drink that helps you withstand stress.

“Many astronauts believe Russia’s official ban on alcohol in space is harmful.” Photo: Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka during his tenth spacewalk.

But there was one and a half liters of cognac in the flask. We decided to take 7.5 grams per day – before bed. According to Grechko, cognac saved them from severe colds, toothaches and hypothermia of the feet. But when half the flask was empty, the cognac and air mixed into foam, which became impossible to squeeze out. The astronauts even tried to get cognac using a bellows to collect urine, but it didn’t work.

But the next crew managed to finish the cognac of Grechko and Romanenko.

Here’s how they did it. One took the neck into his mouth and rose to the ceiling. The second one hit him on the back of the head. And when he flew down with the flask, the cognac rushed into his mouth by inertia. In addition to higher education, you must have at least an average understanding.

Banner image: Bethesda Game Studios 
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