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Large, Gigantic and Humongous - Astronomical Condoms
Oct 17, 2016

When condoms are mentioned, the obvious uses come to mind, which includes protecting yourself and your partner from STDs, prevention of unplanned pregnancies, or to improve pleasure in the bedroom.


However, you will be surprised to learn that these are not the only uses of condoms. According to exciting information brought to our attention by our friend and marketing consultant, who helps market space companies through his website http://martinwilson.me, that condoms are used by astronauts in space to protect their equipment from urine while urinating. 


Large, Gigantic and Humongous - Astronomical Condoms

Astronomical condoms in space used for urinating

Alan Shephard was the first astronaut from America to fly in space. While preparing for his mission, NASA conducted extensive planning that was meant to cover all aspects of the mission, except they forgot one important thing, what would be the procedure in case he needs to use the bathroom. The oversight may have been because the flight was expected to take only a short time. However, as is the case with the space missions, astronauts spend hours in their space capsules waiting for the mission to launch, and this is exactly what happened in the case of astronaut Alan Shephard.


When the time came for the capsule to be launched into space, Shephard developed an urgent need to urinate. However, since stepping out of the capsule to use the bathroom would delay the launch significantly, he was forced to relieve himself inside his space suit. The logic behind this was that the pure oxygen circulating in his suit (designed to enhance the evaporation of astronaut’s sweat) would dry his suit and prevent damage to the electrical circuits in the suit. However, there was an overestimation on this part, and the urine short-circuited the biomedical sensors of the suits, which were designed to monitor his breathing and heart rate.


Alan Shepart
astronomical condoms

Following this incident, NASA began to research solutions that would allow astronauts to urinate in space without causing damage to their equipment. One of the most viable solutions that were developed was the use of astronomical condoms in space for urine collection, a technique that is still used even today. This was used in the second manned space flight, where the astronaut was given a garter belt holding a condom that was attached to a collection bag.


The technique was refined to create a more effective and comfortable urine collection system, which features a perforated condom connected to a one-way flowing tube that leads to a urine collection bag. Therefore, when an astronaut feels like using the bathroom, they can simply urinate without causing any damage to their spacesuits, or have to endure the embarrassment and discomfort of wetting their suit.


NASA renames its condom sizes

When NASA came up with the idea of using astronomical condoms in space for urine collection, no one ever imagined that it would be compromised by something as trivial as the male ego in relation to their size. As you already know, when it comes to condoms, one size does not fit all. Therefore, when NASA was designing the condom-based urine collection systems, they had to accommodate everyone by using different condom sizes

Three sizes were available for the astronauts to choose from, which included small, medium, and large. The problem with these sizes is that most astronauts felt embarrassed to advertise to everyone when ordering the condoms that they were small or medium size. Therefore, they would select a size “large”, even if it did not fit them. 


Now, as you already know, choosing the right condom size is very important during sex, and using the wrong fit can lead to problems such as breaking or slipping. The situation is no different when it comes to the urination process using condoms. Therefore, astronauts who chose a larger size than was necessary ended up experiencing problems when taking a leak, where the condom would slip and spill the urine all over the suit.


To prevent this, NASA was forced to rename its condom sizes, to accommodate the ego of the astronauts. Therefore, the new condom sizes became Large, Gigantic, and Humongous. As a result, astronauts now have no need of picking the wrong size, as they can still pick one that fits them perfectly without feeling as if they are announcing that they have a small size. 


Used condoms found in space

With condoms being used extensively in space by astronauts when urinating, there is bound to be some interesting incidents centered on them. One such incident was the discovery of a used condom floating around in space, which was found by one of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The astronaut, Mike Fossum, a flight engineer for the American space crew said that he found the condom floating around alongside other debris in the earth’s orbit.


The incident was termed as gross by various space agencies, which are yet to confirm how the condom came to be floating in space, or what it had been used for. Various crews also traded accusations as to who might have used it, with the Russian crew calling Fossum’s version of events interesting and adding that it was Fossum who found it. 


Fossum quickly dispelled suspicion by claiming that he found it in the Japanese section of the space station, where one of the Japanese medical officers likes to hang out. However, the medical officer also stated that the suspicious condom was a Russian brand, appearing to suggest that one of the Russian crew members was behind the incident. 


Used condom in space

NASA urged to send condoms into space

Away from the used condoms in space, another interesting incident relating to condoms is the campaign being conducted by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, meant to persuade NASA to send condoms into space. According to the association, this will come in handy in the event that aliens invaded earth and wanted to have sex with human beings.


Despite the bizarre nature of the campaign, it was mainly intended to promote safe sex by using condoms; sending condoms into space would get more people talking about them, thus increasing condom awareness across the world. The campaign seems to have achieved part of its objective, as it has created a lot of buzz on the internet and even earned the name “the Swedish Space Condom” campaign.


The World Contraception Day also published the campaign video, and it is expected to be watched by several users across the world, and increase the awareness of using condoms. 



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