We all know that water is bad for space travel, so it’s no surprise that food for astronauts is frequently dehydrated before they take off. But what else is commonly removed before launch? Here are some common things astronauts are not allowed to consume on their mission:
The carbonated drink in your regular soda cannot be taken into space. In microgravity, carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped in the liquid and can damage equipment and the environment. The carbonated drink should be removed from the space food before takeoff, and it is usually replaced with water. There are other food items that astronauts shouldn’t drink in space, such as chocolate. Carbonated drinks can also cause gas and bloating, and are removed from the food before takeoff.
In the past, rehydratable foods were used in space food preparation. By removing the water, bacteria cannot multiply and increase the shelf life of the food. The astronauts are given back water when they are ready to eat. Heat-treating and air-tight packaging are used to prepare many’ready meals’ for astronauts. It is important to check that food is airtight before you put it on board the space station.
Before the first ISS mission, astronauts were issued a pizza-making kit and a variety of cheeses. These pizzas are then baked on a plate on the bottom of the printer. The top of the pizza is usually coated with “protein layer,” which can be from any source. Pizzas are often wrapped in foil before being shipped to space. The astronauts can then slice their pizzas and eat them during zero gravity.
During the Apollo missions, astronauts were forced to suck food into their mouths via tubes. Today, astronauts have access to frozen, dehydrated, and thermostabilized food. The food is also shipped to space stations in several countries, including the U.S. and Russia. Space station crew members are able to share food with international partners, including Russian cosmonauts.
Since astronauts prefer tortillas over bread, NASA has tried to keep a steady supply of the food aboard the International Space Station. But because there is no tortilla manufacturer near the Kennedy Space Center, the food has to be prepared and transported to space using specialized equipment. A commercial tortilla pack is designed to last nine months. But that’s not enough. The astronauts need the space food to taste delicious!
The food is packaged in Houston a few months before launch and shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida three weeks prior to launch. Food is stored under refrigeration until installed in the shuttle two to three days before launch. The fresh food is packed and installed at KSC and consists of fresh bread, tortillas, and fruit and vegetable items. To prepare space food, astronauts must wash and dry all food products.
The technology to make space food isn’t exactly a secret. The first astronauts ate food in tubes aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the early 1970s. Later, this technology was applied to produce canned food in space. The resulting food isn’t dehydrated and doesn’t need water to be stored. Instead, food is prepared by adding water and shaking. Astronauts cut off the top of the pack before eating, and dig in with a special long spoon.
During the early 1960s, research on food for astronauts in space focused on producing high-calorie, nutritious, and palatable meals. The emphasis was on producing a food that would last long enough for astronauts to reach their destination safely. However, astronauts found that this food was not particularly palatable and tended to cause menu fatigue. Eventually, astronauts began to lose weight when they ate these food tubes, and they were replaced with high-calorie mixtures.
For astronauts, the process of removing ice cream from space food before takeoff is complicated by the fact that air will escape from melted ice cream, making it unsuitable for consumption in zero gravity. To avoid this problem, engineers from Whirlpool Corporation created freeze-dried ice cream for NASA. The product is sold in souvenir shops around the world, but it is unlikely to be available on space stations.
The earliest astronauts ate a diet that consisted primarily of freeze-dried foods. They also ate bacon squares and chocolate pudding. Since then, the food that astronauts ate in space has become an item of interest in science museums. However, it is difficult to compare freeze-dried ice cream with gourmet gelato. However, astronauts have made progress by introducing new flavors, such as coconut and pineapple.