Food in Space: What Do They Eat?
By Bushra and Ctsma
• Important – understanding and preventing the
negative changes that occur during space flight
• NASA spend a lot of time because good nutrition
may be one way to help keep astronauts healthy
during space flight
• Space food is a unique branch of food and nutrition
• It is far more than just selecting tasty and healthy
things to eat. It is also about packaging, preparation,
consumption, and disposal.
• The primary driving force behind space food
development is weight and volume. The less the total
payload carried by a rocket weighs, including the weight
of the astronauts, the less thrust the rocket has to
generate to reach space
• United States’s first space program that sent humans to
• The astronauts were launched into space Redstone/Atlas
• Short duration - complete meals were not needed.
• The major meal was consumed prior to the flight.
• However, the Mercury astronauts did contribute to the
development of space food.
• Tested the physiology of chewing, drinking, and
swallowing solid and liquid foods in a microgravity
• Eating in bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried foods, and
semi-liquids in aluminum toothpaste-type tubes.
• Unappetizing, and there were problems when they
tried to rehydrate the freeze-dried foods.
• NASA one step closer to going to the moon
• Include 2-person missions
• Major advancements - food used better than the original
items developed for Mercury Project
• Cinnamon Toasted Bread, Shrimp Cocktail, Chicken &
Vegetables, Pudding & Apple Sauce.
• Included dehydrated juices, freeze-dried and dehydrated
foods, and compressed, noncrumbling, bite- sized foods.
• 3 meals a day, were planned in advance and the menu
was repeated every 4 days.
• Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon.
• Neil Armstrong among the astronauts. (1st American walked
on the moon!)
• Mercury and Gemini missions provided valuable experience
for the further development of space foods for future
• The first to have hot water in space, so the variety of
space foods increased even more.
• Similar with Gemini, but the variety of foods was
• Could see and smell what they were eating as well
as eat with a spoon for the first time in space.
• Gives enjoyment to the meals, which was missing in
the earlier packages and products
• Coffee, bacon squares, cornflakes, scrambled eggs, cheese
crackers, beef sandwiches, chocolate pudding, tuna salad,
peanut butter, beef pot roast, spaghetti, and frankfurters.
• Fruit juices were also added to the menu.
• The first space station built by the US.
• Goals – to prove that humans could live in space for long
periods of time
• Dining experience on Skylab was unlike any other space flight.
• The Skylab laboratory had a dining room, and a table.
• Had one of the best space food system.
• Warming trays, refrigerator and freezer were also available for
• Menu could be more extensive.
• Skylab astronauts could choose from 72 different food items,
including steak and vanilla ice-cream.
• Eating a meal on Skylab was more like eating a meal at home.
• Major difference - the microgravity environment.
• Supply of food sufficient to feed 3 astronauts for
approximately 112 days.
• Menu was designed to meet each individual astronaut s daily
nutritional requirements based on age, body weight, and activity.
APOLLO SOYUZ TEST PROJECT
• First joint space program of the U.S. and Russia, and resulted
in one mission.
• The mission was 9 days
• U.S. Apollo spacecraft launched from the U.S. and docked (that
is, connected) with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had launched
• Engineers had to design a special docking module that would fit
onto both spacecrafts .
• Photos of this event are unavailable, as there was no third
spaceship to take the picture from!
• American - meals similar to those consumed on Apollo and
• Russian - meals were composed of foods packaged in metal
cans and aluminum tubes.
• Their spacecraft had a small heating unit onboard, and individual
menus were selected for each cosmonaut.
• Meal consisted of meat or meat paste, bread, cheese, soup,
dried fruit and nuts, coffee, and cake.
• Space Shuttle was the world’s first reusable spacecraft.
• Shuttle missions were 5 to 16 days long, and had as many
as 8 crew members.
• The part of the Space Shuttle that had wings was called
• Inside the orbiter was the crew compartment (that is, the
place where the crew members worked, ate, and slept).
• The crew compartment had 2 levels: the flight deck and the
mid-deck (or middle deck).
• The flight deck was “upstairs,” and was where the commander
and pilot (and 2 other astronauts) sat and controlled the flight,
and could see out the windows.
• The mid-deck was “downstairs,” and was where most
experiments were conducted, where the “kitchen” was, and
where the bathroom was.
• More Earth-like feeding approach was designed by updating
previous food package designs and hardware items.
• Food variety expanded to 74 different kinds of food and 20
kinds of beverages.
• Food is prepared at a galley installed in the orbiter’s middeck.
• Contains a water dispenser and an oven.
• The water dispenser which can dispense hot, chilled, or ambient
water is used for rehydrating foods, and the galley oven is used
to warm foods to the proper serving temperature.
• The oven is a forced-air convection oven and heats food in
containers different in size, shape, and material.
• A full meal for a crew of four can be set up in about 5 minutes.
• Reconstituting and heating the food takes an additional 20—30
• A meal tray is used as a dinner plate.
• The tray attaches to the astronaut s lap by a strap or can be
attached to the wall. Eating utensils consist of a knife, a fork,
a spoon, and a pair of scissors to open food packages.
• Many astronauts will tell you that one of the most important
things they carry in their pockets is a pair of scissors.
• They could not eat without them!
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
• The International Space Station (ISS) is a giant
environment for living and working in space.
• The ISS crews are international as well.
• Six crew members live on the ISS, and they come from
the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe.
• U.S. and its IPs make new foods to try to increase the
variety of foods available to crew members.
• Similar to the Space Shuttle, the ISS beverage package is
made from a foil and plastic laminate to provide for a
longer product shelf life.
• The food package is made from a microwaveable material.
• The top of the package is cut off with a pair of
scissors, and the contents are eaten with a fork or
• include both foods and beverages. Water is removed
during Earth processing, making it easy to stow the
foods and extend the shelf life. During flight, water
is added back to the food.
• include chicken consomme´, cream of mushroom soup,
macaroni and cheese, chicken and rice casseroles,
shrimp cocktail, and various breakfast foods.
• refers to canned food. The foods are heat-
processed to destroy deleterious microorganisms
• Most of the fish, such as tuna and salmon, and
fruit are carried into space in thermostabilized cans
or pouches. The cans open with full-panel pull-out
Intermediate Moisture Food
• preserved by taking some water out of the
product while leaving enough in to maintain the
soft texture. This way, it can be eaten without any
• These foods include dried peaches, pears, apricots,
and beef jerky.
Natural Form Foods
• Nuts, granola bars, M&MsTM, and cookies are
classified as natural form foods. They are packaged
ready to eat in flexible pouches.
• Condiments include commercially packaged individual
pouches of catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, taco sauce,
and hot pepper sauce.
• includes beefsteak, fajitas, breakfast sausage, and
smoked turkey. To insure long shelf life at the
ambient temperatures found inside the spacecraft,
the meat is cooked, packaged in flexible foil-
laminated retort pouches, and sterilized by zapping
it with ionizing radiation
• which gravity s effects are greatly reduced and
occurs when a spacecraft orbits Earth
• spacecraft and all its contents are in a state of
• foods are packaged and served to prevent food
from moving about the Space Shuttle or ISS.
• Crumbs and liquids could damage equipment or be
• Special straws are used for drinking the liquids. have
clamps that can be closed to prevent the liquids from
• also causes the utensils used for dining to float away.
The knife, fork, spoon, and scissors are secured to
magnets on the food tray when they are not being
• measuring cups don’t work very well. If you were to
squirt water from a hose into the cup, you would need
to do it very slowly.
• Sedimentation and buoyancy are absent.
• Heating water to boiling creates gas bubbles,
as it does on Earth, but in microgravity
bubbles do not rise to the top of the pot.
They stay right where they form.
• In short, microgravity creates challenges for