Although the ISS currently has no laundry facilities, NASA’s Glenn Research Center sponsored a washing machine design contest to do the drudgery during spaceflight. Plans have been made for testing a prototype on the ISS. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/glenn/2021/nasa-glenn-interns-take-space-washing-machine-designs-for-a-spin

Currently, laundry is de-orbited rather than being washed. On prolonged future missions, laundry day will become a necessity.

Technical design details of the winning projects are hard to find. It’s difficult to imagine they could have much in common with domestic laundry machines with their high speed spin-cycle baskets and "Dancing Girdy" antics.

One option is to "soak, then wring" rather than "slosh then spin".

How is the angular momentum and vibration from orbiting washing machines minimized or managed? Is their vibration worse than that from ISS exercise machines? Are there ISS experiments which could not be conducted on “laundry day”?

  • $\begingroup$ related information on ISS vibrations including spectrogram: Why isn't a centrifuge used for astronauts on the space station? because Shake, Rattle and Roll! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 16, 2022 at 22:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The angular momentum could theoretically be mitigated by running two spinners in opposite directions with a controller that carefully ensures the torques exactly cancel. That would still be an issue when the cycle finishes, though, since the angular momentum exchange will be dictated by what is needed to stop the spinning: you don't have a degree of freedom to tie them together at the end. More importantly, I have no reason to think that would help at all with the vibrations. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2022 at 3:03


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