Was there really a shuttle toilet training device with a camera looking up at the user's fundament? This seems a bit undignified to say the least.

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    $\begingroup$ “Fundament”. Never heard that euphemism before :) $\endgroup$
    – s3raph86
    Dec 10, 2019 at 6:23
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    $\begingroup$ Also check out various audio tapes of Apollo crew joking about a certain free-floating brown object which got loose. $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2019 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ @s3raph86 - It isn't a euphemism - en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fundament $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2019 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for fundament. Knew it meant foundation and basis... didn't know it also had an anatomical meaning. $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2019 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ @DaveGremlin Huh. You learn something new every day… $\endgroup$
    – s3raph86
    Dec 10, 2019 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


Yes, this was the Waste Collection System (WCS) Positional Trainer, located in Building 5 at Johnson Space Center, adjacent to but not part of the Shuttle Mission Simulator Fixed and Motion Bases.

The trainer was located in a small room with a code-locked door. The room contained a conventional toilet, a functional replica of the shuttle toilet, and the WCS Positional Trainer. (The conventional toilet was behind the gray door to the left of the image).

enter image description here

Due to the small size of the seat opening in the shuttle toilet and the necessity to achieve a positive seal between the user and the seat so that the airflow worked properly, correct positioning of the user on the seat was critical.

The WCS Positional Trainer had a camera and light in the seat as shown below.

enter image description here

The image from the video camera was displayed on the monitor in front of the user. A placard on the wall gave instructions for use.

enter image description here

This room was a highlight of any informal tour of the training facilities.


Personal photos except photo of seat is a screenshot from the video below, which I recommend watching for more information.

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    $\begingroup$ A german Shuttle astronaut told in a speech that the Shuttle commander asked every crew member before flight if the toilet training was done successfully. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Dec 9, 2019 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ I am so disappointed that no scifi space captain has ever asked prospective crew or passengers were toilet trained. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2019 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime at least in 2001 there was an procedural placard outside the toilet door on the Aries. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2019 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ Like every other aspect of astronaut training, there was actually some formal lecture time assigned to this training "event." The most important takeaway that I can remember, however, was "And, remember, don't allow anything to fall onto the camera lens!" But, seriously, becoming "centered" was not a trivial task, due to the rather small orifice that was provided! $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Dec 10, 2019 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble Was that really a closed loop television system? Some of us wondered about that...although, truth be told, the entire crew experience at NASA had a way of chipping away at any notions of personal modesty one may have one possessed... $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Dec 10, 2019 at 16:37

Yes. See the book Packing for Mars by Mary Roach for a detailed and entertaining account. The book is a journalistic journey through the field of human factors in spaceflight.

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    $\begingroup$ Also mentioned in a comment. I've requested the book from the library. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2019 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ The book is a fun read. The author is a bit sloppy about her facts but it's entertainingly written. $\endgroup$ Dec 14, 2019 at 4:17

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