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[1962] Friendship 7
[1963] Space food news & notes
[1963] Faith 7
[1964] Gemini missions
[1965] Gemini 4
[1965] Gemini 7
[1966] Apollo missions
[1968] Apollo 7
[1969] Apollo 10
[1969] Apollo 11
[1970/1] Soyuz 9 & 10
[1971] Apollo 15
[1972] Apollo 16
[1973] Skylab
[1985] Discovery
[1991] Biosphere 2
[2004] International Space Station
[2006] Space food news & notes
[2012] Space food fact sheets
[2013] Chris Hadfield, Space Chef in Chief/NPR
American consumer favorites
Astronaut fruitcake
Space food sticks
Tang



General overviews, photos and lesson plans:

[1962: Friendship 7]
"Within about twenty minutes after he had soard aloft, Lieut. Col. John H. Glenn Jr. apparently had his first snack in space. The Mercury control center here reported that he dipped into his space food at 10:09 as he passed the tracking station at Kano, Nigeria. He squeezed the food out of special tubes, resembling oversized tubes of toothpaste. His two-course meal consisted of a beef-vegetable mixture and applesauce. His squeeze food was semisolid, which means it was pretty much like baby food, but with adult seasoning and sugar added. While in orbit, Colonel Glenn was weightless. He would have floated in his spacecraft if not strapped down. Food as ordinarily served would take wings, also. So would any crumbs he might spill. So his meal was packed inside special aluminum tubes developed by American Can Company container scientists. The tubes have caps, with metal seals inside the neck. Colonel Glenn removed the cap, and screwed on a special nozzle. This broke the seal. He put the nozzle in his mouth, through an opening in his helmet, and squeezed away. The contents could not pop out under reduced pressure in the space capsule, say company scientists. With the flexible tube and nozzle, Colonel Glenn did not run into the exasperation of 'ketchup bottleneck,' they added. For astronauts, the company has prepared tubes of beef-vegetables, chicken-noodle, veal, applesauce, peaches, and a fruit concentrate. After dinner, the food tube can be crumpled into a small pack, taking care of garbage disposal or space littering."
---"Glenn Had Space Snack by Tube; Food Squeezed Via Helmet Hole," New York Times, February 21, 1962 (p. 24)

[1963: space food news & notes]
"A suburban research firm is working on tissue-culture techniques which it hopes might enable space travelers to grow one meal from the scraps of a preceding one, and so on and on. The ulitimate result of the experiments conceivably could be production of food times such as tomatoes without leaves, stems or roots and steaks of controlled weight, shape and tenderness without frwoing an animal. Melpar, Inc, an aerospace firm in Falls Church, has been carrying on company-sponsored research for two years. The firm's president, Paul Ritt, said some 'very modest results' have been obtained in Melpar laboratories, but estimated it might be three or four years before the experiments succeed on a significant scale. The process requires a solution of nutrients containing the more thna 90 substances that nature provides to growing organisms. A sample of the tissue--a piece of steak for example--is placed in this culture. Under strict conditions of light, temperature and sterility control, the tissue grows. The tissue culture first became known publicly in the late 1940s, when a Nobel Prize was awared to a team growing monkey tissue culture for polio vaccine applications. Melpar scientist hope the equipment they are developing will make large scale production possible. They said the automatic culture of tissue could be applied to: 1. Space feeding--a never-ending compact supply of vegetables, fruit and meat. The space traveler would leave a small portion of his meal in the culture equipment so that it could grow back. 2. Medicine--new horizons for mass production of vaccines, serums, individually-batched skin, corneas and other tissue."
---"Way Sought to Grow Food From Leftovers," Associated Press, The Washington Post, January 29, 1963 (p. A9)
[NOTES: (1) The Nobel Prize for
regenerating animal tissue was awarded in 1954. (2) We find no print evidence, or patents, confirming this project became a reality.]

"On any long journey into unchartered areas, explorers naturally plan their food rations carefully. For their part, U.S. scientists favor precooked, dehydrated foods, just like the Army K rations of World War II.Admundsen's success in taking along extra food in useful form has given one scientist, Grumman Aircraft's Sidney A. Schwartz, 36, and idea: he thinks space capsules could be built, at least in part, out of edible stuff. Psychocologist Schwartz, who helped develop the Navy chow for Antarctica's Operation DeepFreeze in 1956, worked out a recipe on paper and shopped in a Bethpage, N.Y. supermart for $5 worth of groceries-flour, corn starch, powdered milk, banana flakes, and hominy grits. After mixing the ingredients he baked them in a hydraulic press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit under 3,000-pound pressure. The result: a grainy brown slab as tough as tempered Masonite that could be cut on a bandsaw without splintering or drilled for bolts and screws. Aboard a spaceship, he says, it could be used as lightweight, inexpensive (10 cents a pound) cabinets, shelves, and panels. But how does it taste? Too hard to be eaten as is, the food has to be pulverized with a tiny grinder. After it is soaked for a few hours in water, says Schwartz, 'it tastes like breakfast cereal toped with bananas. I rather like it.'"
---"Astronaut's Breakfast," Newsweek, April 15, 1963 (p. 63)

[1963: Faith 7]
"The nation's longest manned space flight ended last night in near perfection when Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper splashed down into the Pacific Ocean 31 hours, 20 minutes and 30 seconds after launching....several of the experiments performed by Maj Cooper in his flight are aimed directly at aimed at the Gemini project...the cubes of concentrated food consumed by Maj Cooper in space ate the foods that are planned for Gemini pilots during their long days in space."
---"Cooper Lands Faith 7 in Pacific," Wall Street Journal, May 17, 1963 (p. 2)

[1964: preparing foods for Gemini missions]
"Eating conventionally from a plate with a knife and fork is out of the question in space...An astronaut drinking coffee from a cup would never get the liquid to his lips, the coffee would dance in the air in front of him as he tipped the cup. When Scott Carpenter tried to eat cookies on his flight, the crumbs stayed behind to float in front of his face like so many large particles of dust. Serving foods is just one of the problems scientists arnd astronauts encounter when dealing with gravity-less weightless space. Rich desserts, spiced foods and many other 'high residue' foods will be taboo because of the problems of getting rid of waste materials and the need to conserve storage space by use of the least bulky objects possible. Carbonated beverages and other gas producing foods and drinks will be left on earth. Gasses expand in the stoamch at low pressure high altitude, causing stomach pains. Instead, the astronaut's diet will be low residue combination of 17% protein, 51% carbohydrate and 32% fat. Sausage patties, grapefruit juice nad apricot pudding are some of the things future spacemen will eat. The form of space foods will be anyting but traditional, however. Packaging now is done in polyethelene bags which contain dehydrated or freeze-dried products. These can be stored at room temperature for months without damage and a package the size of a small envelope provides a mea. Dehydrated foods will be reconstituted with water before being eaten...The technical problems of preparing and serving food in an atmosphere where all objects float is compounded by the normal earthy need for a balanced diet with a certain amount of bulk...Only a few years ago scientists believed man might not be able to swallow and digest food without the aid of gravity. Food in pill form was suggested, but soon rejected because of the need for bulk and the psychological need to eat. Experiments with food in stree situations show that eating alleviates stress and that not being abloe to eat or eating unfamiliar foods compounds stress. A squeeze tube apparatus inserted in the astronaut's mouth was used on early flights but discarded because of its bulkiness. The tubes couldn't be thrown out because they would travel right along with the ship, maintaining the same rate of speed. And garbage won't be rocketed back to earth because of the great expense. When the less bulky polyethelene bgs were developed, problems of storing them became evident. Now they are made with a Velcro tab on the side which will attach to a matching piece of Velcro on the walls of the space ship...To eat, astronauts will sit strapped in chairs side by side with a water source between them. After inserting the nozzle in one end of a dehydrated food package, they'll wait for the food to be reconsituted and then eat from the other end of the bag. Containers with only one opening were used on previous flights but astronauts had problems keeping the water in the bag after removing the nozzle ...On the two-week Gemini flight astronauts will have a 2,500 calorie a day diet in four meals. Although the crew hasn't yet been chosen, astronauts know approximately what the crew will eat. The proposed menu for days 1, 5, 9, and 13 is: Meal A:: Sugar frosted flakes, sausage patties, toast squares and orange-grapefruit juice Meal B: Tuna salad, cheese sandwiches, apricot pudding and grape juice Meals C: Beef pot roast, carrots in cream sauce, toasted bread cubes, pineapple cubes and tea Meal D: Potato soup, chicken bits, toast squares, applesauce, brownies and grapefruit juice. This Gemini menu is only the beginning. The field of space feeding is unlimited. When interplanetary travel is as pedestrian as freeway traffic, meals in space may be as common--and basic--as tonight's family dinner."
---"Out in Space Table Manners Up for Grabs," Los Angeles Times, December 21, 1964 (p. D18)

[1965: Gemini 4]
"Majors James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White 2d are trying to settle down to a relatively normal life in space--eating, sleeping and working. But they are having some problems. Both astronauts have toothbrushes, packaged with their first meals, but they have no toothpaste. Why? 'The problems is, where do you spit?' explained a Whirlpool Corporation spokesman. Whirlpool was charged with the responsibility of developing the food, personal hygiene and waste management system for project Gemini, and it had to use quite a bit of imagination to deal with the problems. In the case of food, Whirlpool had to develop palatable meals amounting to about 2,500 calories a day that the astronauts coudl store and eat in space. The foods had to use a minimum amount of space, to be compatible with cecompression and to be storable for long periods without spoiling. Also they had to be packaged so the astronauts could get to the food, eat it, and then ge rid of the uneaten portion without making a mess of the tiny cockpit. Dealing with the storage problem was relatively easy because most foods are between 50 and 99 per cent water. By dehydrating the foods, their volume was substantially reduced. The lack of water also prevents any bacterial action that could produce spoilage. About half the foods on the menu have to be reconstituted with water. The foods are contained in plastic airtight envelopes with one-way valves. To rehydrate the food, the astronaut inserts a devise that looks like a water pistol. By squeezing the trigger, the astronaut injects water into the food envelope. Once the water is inside, the astronaut kneads the food and water until it achieves the proper consistency. When he is ready to eat, the astronaut cuts into the plastic envelope and removes a plastic funnel-like tube. He places the tue in his mouth and squeezes the food out. Having eaten, the astronaut drops a small tablet into the food envelope and seals it. This tablet reactivates the refuse chemically so that it does not rot and develop noxious gases. Some of the foods, such as bacon-and-egg bites, red cubes, or cheese cubes, do not have to be reconstituted. But these have to be prevented from making crumbs that can float around the cockpit. The cubes are all bite-sized, so the astronaut can chew with his mouth closed. As a further safeguard against crumbs, which were a problem in some Project Mercury flights, all the cubes are coated with a starch called Amylomaize, which holds in the crumbs. The individual foods are packed in a flour-ply plastic that performs a variety of functions. The innermost layer is a good-grade polyethylene that is compatible with food. The second layer is a nylon film to givce the package burst and kneading strength. The third layer is a fluorocarbon film called Aclar, which prevents the passage of oxygen and water. And the outside layer is another polyethylene that gives heat-sealability to the envelope. At the end of the meal, the astronauts may brush their teeth--without toothpaste. They are also provided with two sticks of commercial chewing gum with each meal and a small 4-by-4-inch rayon towel that has been impregated with an antibacterial substance used in commercial baby preparations."
---"Food is Problem for Astronauts," Frederic C. Appel, New York Times, June 6, 1965 (p. 70)

"The Army Natick Laboratories at Natick, Mass. produced 40 types of food for the four-day trip, ranging from bite-size brownies to butterscotch pudding, shrimp salad, and spaghetti. White's favorite food is the shrimp cocktail while McDivitt favors beef pot roast."
---"'Made in New England' On Many Products in Gemini," Bennington Banner [VT], June 4, 1965 (p. 2)

[1965: Gemini 7]

"Astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell practically were gourmets at mealtime, compared to their cube-eating Gemini 5 predecessors. Beef pot roast, shrimp cocktail and banana puding were a few of the delicacies brightening up the two-week Gemini 7 space menu, replacing such clinical fare as strawberry cereal cubes, peanut cubes and several other kinds of cubes. Borman and Lovell each used about a quart of water per day in converting their food from assorted multicolored pumps and powders into quite palatable meals. Almost two-thirds of the dishes (not including beverages) consumed by Gemnini 5 Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad however, were in the form of cubes, squares or 'bites.' Only the beverage list remained roughly the same as it was--orange juice, grapefruit juice, orange-grapefruit juice, and back to orange juice again. There was only one newcomer, cocoa, which was on the breakfast menu three times during the flight. The idea for the kinds of 'space chow' came from the U.S. Army's Natick Laboratories here, which knew next to nothing when it started, about the effects of nutrition and appetite of the long stays in space. As the Gemini program progresses, the astronauts' diet is beginning to look and taste more and more like earthling food. For really long missions, such as the 30-day flight of the Air Force's manned Orbiting Laboratory, now set for 1968, familiar and varied food will become increasingly imporant. Still, the space recipes remember nothing 'like mother used to make.' Besides the spaghetti and chicken and gravy, there still are items such as 'bacon and egg bites' and one curiosity called a 'pea bar.'"
---"Gemini 7 Duo Ate Like Gourmets," Tucson Daily Citizen [AZ], December 15, 1965 (p. 43)

[1966: Planning for Apollo: space food advances]
"Feeding a man in space is a surprisingly complex problem, For the relatively short Gemini flights the problems are not critical; for longer Apollo or even interplanetary flights they will be, and planning has already started. Since the nutrient requirements for a man on earth are not completely known, and are completely unknown for a man in space, it is considered practical for space missions to use natural foods. In addition, some scientists believe meals during long space flights could provide a memory link to more pleasant situations. Reaching the decision for natural food posed the problem of the form of the food should take to best suit it for space flight. In the first place, storage space was severly limited. Up to Apollo, not even hot water can be supplied for food preparation--much less a stove or oven. Other space hardware limitations are that the food must stand temperatures up to 136 degrees F., 100 percent relative humidity, and launch acceleration, vibration and noise without spoiling, decomposing or crumbling. Space program food experts finally hit upon a two-product approach to the problem: foods were to be either dehydrated for later reconstitution or made into bite-size solids. This plan would take up minimum space. Scientists figured a cubic food would tore enough dehydrated food for a man for two weeks. Freeze-drying, a relatively new technique that retains much of the natural texture and flavor of food by drawing off moisture through vacuum rather than heat, is a most satisfactory process to perpare dehydrated items. This method is used to prepare half of the food items in the space diet. These foods are sealed in transparent film packs with plastic mouth tubes. No astronaut is kept waiting for his main course more than ten minutes. Freeze-dehydrated foods are required to reconstituted (rehydrate) within ten minutes after adding water--and at the 80 degree F. Gemini cabin temperature. The bite-size and naturally dry solids were included in the space diet to supplement the main fare of reconstituted, dehydrated meals. They add taste and textural variations, as well as vital calories, but they also present special problems. Crumbling under launch pressures and unappetizing surface greasiness from vacuum packaging are hazards. Edible coatings for fruitcake, brownies, and gingerbread have been tried to recude crumbling, preserve freshness and eliminate stickiness. Drinks are usually synthetic and almost all food is cut into bits small enought ot be squeezed through a plastic mouth tube."
---"What do astronauts eat in space?" Science Digest, June, 1966 (p. 82-83)

"A dinner including clam chowder, Alaskan king crab, turkey vegetables and salad topped off with ice cream smothered with strawberries... That's the menu the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is planning for our astronauts when they tak off to the moon and other spots around the solar system. About 100 foods may be added to the astronauts' present 80-item menu, two food technologists at the Army's Natick, Mass., laboratories said at a meeting of the Army Chemical Society. In addition to that king crab and turkey the list of goodies includes chocolate chip cookies, tapioca and apple pie, said Dr. Edward E. Anderson and Arthur W. Anil. But it isn't quite as mouthwatering as it sounds. Drs. Anderson and Anil are more concerned about the food's weight and the amount of room it occupies in the space craft than they are with appearances or flavors. The food comes in squares, flat cakes and tubes in a wild set of off-beat colors and as for taste--well, the astronauts may crab about the crab. The astronauts' meals can be reduced to one-tenth their natural size and the which more than halved. I sampled an astronaut's lunch--cheese sandwich, fruit cake, peaches and ice cream. The cheese sandwich was crunchy and chewy, but not too cheesey. The fruit cake was unrecognizable. The peaches came in an orange flat cake. But it did not taste peachy. But that ice cream! It required a full set of teeth and tasted like concentrated malted milk capsules. The food miniaturization is made possible, Dr. Anderson said, by the development of a new family of special food coatings. Clear and colorless, the coatings glue the food together into bit-size chunks an astronaut can pop into his mouth in one gulp. The coating eliminates crumbs and stickiness which are problems in confirmned space ship cabins. Wrapped in light-weight plastic bags, the food can be preserved two years or longer. The squeezed-down rations provide 2,700 calories a day, just the right amount for a moon-bound astronaut who isn't getting much exercise. In constrast, a combat soldier gets 3,600 calories. The expanded NASA menu will allow the astronauts to be more choosy about the food they take into space. NASA caters to their tastes when specific requests are made. Gemini 4 astonauts, James McDivitt and Ed White, for instance, asked for a fish-free diet. And got it."
---"Food for Astronauts Not Mouth-Watering," Albequerque Tribune [NM], September 14, 1966 (p. C-5)

[1968: Apollo 7]
"Food on the Apollo 7 spacecraft still does not match home cooking, but it comes a lot closer than space food used to. Even at that, the astronauts reported, 'The beef stew tends to be very crumbly.' Space cuisine has come a long way since the early Mercury flights, when the astronauts had to content themselves with viscous substances squeezed into the mouth like toothpaste. Because Apollo has both hot and cold running water, packaged chunks of dried beef stew can be prepared and served hot. The Apollo 7 command pilot, Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr., took some coffee on the flight and reported it was somewhat difficult to prepare but pleasing to the palate. Todat's menu for Captain Schirra, who insisted on bringing the coffee on the flight, was spaghetti and meat sauce, tuna salad, banana and chocolate pudding. Walter Cunningham's menu consisted of beef sandwiches, beef and vegetable soup, and barbecued beef bites."
---"No Place for Gourmets," New York Times, October 13, 1968 (p. 74)

How much did it cost?
"It costs $600 a day to feed the Apollo 7 astronauts. Thirty-three meals were aboard the spaceship when it took off yesterday, three meals a day for each of the thee astronauts for the planned 11-day mission. The high cost results form the necessity for developing dehydratable food and crumble-proof bite-size snacks."
---"$600 a Day for Food," New York Times, October 13, 1968 (p. 74)

What did the astonauts think about their food?
"Though the Apollo 7 astronauts decided on their menus before they left, they complained today that they had brought too much food and that it was too sweet. Walter Cunningham reported that they were filled before they finished every bite. He sauid he personally thought there were too many sweets included. The meals, however, were all based on the astronauts' personal preferences. Each day, the meals run about 2,300 calories. The breakfast of Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr., of the Navy, today included fruit cocktail, cinnamon toast and cocoa, while his dinner menu was chicken salad, gingerbread and grapefruit drink. Maj. Donn F. Eislele, of the Air Force, had sausage patties, apricot cereal cubes and cocoa for brekfast. His lunch included pot roast, Canadian bacon and apple sauce, sugar cookies and butterscotch pudding. For breakfast, Mr. Cunningham had orange drink, plus fruit cocktail and cinnamon toast. His lunch was corn chowder, barbaqued [sic] beef bites, cinnamon toast, chocolate pudding and an orange-grapefruit drink. For dinner, the menu was cinnamon toast, as well as chicken salad, beef sandwiches, pineapple fruitcake and an orange-grapefruit drink. The foods the astronauts eat are freeze-dried or bite size. These are rehydrated by adding cold or hot water with a hand-held water fun, so that the astronauts can reconsitute their meals by mixing them in a plastic bag or by taking a bite and then a drink of water."
---"Astronauts Assert Thneir Food Is Too Plentiful and Too Sweet," New York Times, October 14, 1968 (p. 39)

[1969: Apollo 10]
"Man may not live by bread alone, but to an astronaut on his way to the moon a simple slice of rye can stir enough joy to feed his psyche as well as his stomach...It is the first time that Apollo astronauts have carried fresh bread in their larder or eaten real sandwiches while in spaceflight. According to their first food critique, the Apollo 10 crew seems pleased as punch. In general, astronauts complain about food aboard the spacecraft, said Dr. Malcolm Smith, chief of food nutrition for the Apollo program. 'But when you ask them specifically what it is they don't like...all they can say is 'it's atrocious'' As the man in charge of Apollo menus, Dr. Smith said he has been working hard on ways to appease the astronauts' palates. 'They're not fussy eaters...like most men, they'll eat what you put in front of them.' Col Thomas P. Stafford and Comdrs. John W. Young and Eugene A. Cernan will have a few things in front of them this week that previous astronauts could only dream about. For one thing, each man will consume one 'wet pack' meal a day. These meals have been aboard on previous spaceflights, but not un such quantity. First offered aboard the Apollo 8 mission to the moon last December, a wet pack meal is regulary, undehydrated food-- beef and potatoes, ham and potatoes and turkey and gravy--that is wrapped in aluminum foil. Bread has not been officially sanctioned in space before...because it tends to crumble and go stale on conact with the spacecraft's initially high oxygen atmosphere. Commander Young, in fact, proved this point when he smuggled a corned beef sandwich aboard his 1965 Gemini 3 flight and found it had turned to the texture of cron meal. Crumbs, it is said, litered his space capsule. But if bread is first flushed with nitrogen...it will keep fresh in a space capsule for two weeks. Right now a good supply of plain white and party rye bread is open the way to the moon to be eaten with tuna fish salad and chicken salad spreads...The Apollo 10 crew is also the first to sup from new 'spoon-bowl' packages. In the early days of the space program it was feared that food, if exposed to a weightless environment, would float messily into the air. Experience has taught, however, that only greasy foods, like barbecue sauce, have the tendency to crawl the sides of their containers...A new package, therefore, has been designed to permit the men to eat with spoons from their plastic bags after the contents have been rehydrated. Equipped with a zipper-like top, the new bags mean that astronauts will no longer hae to sip their suppers through a straw. And it means they will find bigger chunks of meat in their rations. Dr. Smith described another edible innovation aboard the current Apollo mission--five new freeze-dried recipes. It is hoped that the freeze-drying process...will improve the taste of the food. It will still have to be reconstituted with water, but might be more flavor-faithfyl than conventionally dried foods. The new meals are chicken with rice, chicken stew, beef stew, meat and spaghetti and pork with scalloped potatoes."
---"Real Sandwiches Please Spacemen," Sandra Blakelee, New York Times, May 21, 1969 (p. 20)

"Here are the highlights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday for the Apollo 10 astronauts...7:02 a.m.--Breakfast of fruit cocktail, cereal, bacon squares and grapefruit drink...3:15 p.m. Lunch of potato soup, chicken and vegetables, tuna salad, pineapple fruitcake and orange drink.... 9:49 p.m. Dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce, hame and potatoes, banana pudding and pineapple-grapefruit drink...8:19 a.m. Breakfast of peaches, bacon squares, strawberry cubes, cocoa and orange drink...12:49 p.m. Lunch of potato soup, pork and scalloped potatoes, applesauce and orange drink...5:49 p.m. Dinner of shrimp cocktail, chicken stew, turkey bites, date fruitcake and oragne-grapefruit juice."
---"Final Stages of Apollo Flight," Northwest Arkansas Times [Fayettefille AR], May 24, 1969 (p. 9

[1969: Apollo 11]

What did were the first meals eaten on the moon?
"When Apollo 11 astronauts land on the moon, they will be eating tasty, nutritious and varied meals supplied to NASA by the Life Support Division of the Twin Cities' Whirlpool Corporation. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin will spend about 24 hours on moon and the rest periods, they will eat two meals there. Their first scheduled meal to be eaten on the moon will consist of bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee. The second meal will contain beef stew, cream of chicken soup, date fruitcake, grape punch and orange drink. In addition to the meals, other snack items such as dried fruit, candy, extra beverages, wet packs, sandwich spread, and bread will be included. The food items are similar to the food used in previous Apollo missions: freeze-dried bite-size foods, those eaten directly from the package; and rehydratable freeze-dried foods, those foods which need to be reconstituted with water before eating. Astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins will eat in the command module according to pre-planned menus and will also have pantry items which they can select at will. The meals are referred to as Meal A, B or C and are identified to each astronauts predetermined menu by means of a colored tab of 'velcro' material. 'Velcro' is a nylon hooked materials which mates to a similar textured material on the spacecraft wall. Besides identifying the food, it acts as a holding device which keeps the food packs from floating in space. Unlike other missions, Apollo 11 will carry pre-planned menus for only the first five days of the flight. For the duration of the flight, the astronauts may select individual food items from a pantry. Pantry items are foods which are not assmebled by menus but meremly packaged in categories such as Desserts, Beverages, Breakfast Items, Bite-size Cubes and Salads and Meats. The pantry system enables the astronauts to selected at random whatever food item they desire. Other pantry items include: Rehydratable dessert items: banana pudding, butterscotch pudding, applesauce and chocolate pudding. Rehydradtable beverages: orange drink, orange grapefruit drink, pineapple fruticake, jellied fruitcake, jellied fruit candy and caramel candy. Breakfast items: peaches, fruit cocktail, canadian bacon, bacon squares, sausage patties, sugar coated corn flakes, strawberry cubes, cinnamon toasted bread cubes, apricot cereal cubes and peanut cubes. Salads and meats: salmon salad, tuna salad, cream of chicken soup, shrimp cocktail, spaghetti and meat sauce, beef pot roast, beef and vegetables, chicken and rice, chicken stew, beef stew and pork and scalloped potatoes."
---"Whirlpool Announces Lunar Fare: Local Industry Prepared Food for Apollo 11," News-Palladium [Benton Harbor MI], June 30, 1969 (p. 3)

How much did this food cost & how did it taste?
"It's not home cooking by a long shot, but it tastes surprisingly good. And at the prices, it should taste good. The food budget per day for each astronaut ranges from $150 to $300, with every bit custom-designed to appeal to the spacemen's appetites. Mary V. Klicks, a ration design specialist at NLABS, saus the most important criteria in designing space food is that the austronauts eat and like what they consume. On Apollo 11, hot dogs and other familar dinners will be eaten with a spoon from an open package despite the zero gravity environment. Familiar foods that are aesthetically pleasing, says Mrs. Klicks, are an important part of developing space foods. She says the luxury of being able to eat with a spoon gives the astronauts an extra psychological lift at meal times. But dehydrated and freeze dried food, compressed into bite-size squares, are the main part of the space menu. Some require the addition of water, such as the shrimp cocktail wile others are reconstituted by the moisture in the astronaut's mouth, and require no preparation. Although not as tasty and attractive as the 'moist-packet' dinners eaten with a spoon the dried food offers the same nutritional value and extra convenience."
---"Menus made more appetizing for Apollo 11 space flight," News and Tribune [Jefferson City MO], July 20, 1969 (p. 5)

What did the food look like?
Photos & food notes, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

[1970: Soyuz 9 & 1971: Soyuz 10]
"Yuri Gagarin, the world's first cosmonaut took aboard his space ship food pastes in tubes and minced products. He appreciated both types of food. Recounting his impressions ahe noted that the process of consumption in outer space differed in no special way from that on Earth. During subsequent flights the spaceship menu included sandwiches and their fresh foods. Naturally, this improved the nutitional ration but the longer the flight, the harder it was to preserve the food products. The spacemen's men was next supplemented with so-called sublimated products--tinned goods dehydrateed when heated in a vacuum from a frozen state. Since their volume and weight is diminutive, they can be preserved for any length of time. These are the favorable aspects. But these cublimated products have their faults. The customary form of a dish, its aroma and consistency play no small role in a person's perception and consumption of it. For instance, sublimated meat is grey in color. Dehydrated food, if eaten without its restored moisture crumbles in the mouth and is therefore hard to chew and swallow. In future sublimated foods will obviously be used during lengthy space flights. Special systems for regenerating drinking water, and devices in which a normal moisture will be restored to sublimated foods before eating, will then be installed on board the spaechip. The menu on the Soyuz-9 was highly appreciated by its crew. It was composed for Andryian Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyoanov with an eye to their tastes. They are tinned foods prepared the usual way, but with a decreased content of moisture. Their rations included milk and sweets, dried fruits, juices and dried fish. In was by their special request that Vobla (dried fish) was made a fixture in their daily menus. Here is the menu of one of the days during the crews of Soyez-10 was in outer space: Breakfast Chopped bacon (or a choice of veal liver pate, or minced sausage), Borodinsky black bread, Coffee and milk, Candied fruit Lunch Creme of cottage cheese and black current puree, Honey cookies Dinner Vobla (smoked fish), Kharcho (spiced meat and rice soup), Chicken (or ham or meat pate), Brown bread, Prunes and nuts Supper Meat puree, Borodinsky bread, Tinned Rossisky cheese. As we see, the menu was varied enough. But it did not exhaust the stores of food on board the spaceship. To this list should be added sorrel and cabbage soups, wieners, steak, pork and puree or wild fowl, sweet meats and chocolate. The spacemen were also obliged to take polyvitamin pills containing vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E twice a day. When composing these rations, Soviet specialists take into account the biological value of the foods, their taste and aesthetic appearance. Therefore, serious attention is paid to their wrappings. Part of the food is contained in metal boxes, and confectionary and some other foods in polymer film. Tinned meats, whose food value is practically identical, contain protein, little fat and an even smaller amount of other ingredients. They are sufficently juicy, but have no brine which is dangerous in weighlessness, since it cam form a 'raincloud' in the ship's cabin. The spacemen use cupronickel spoons and forks. True, the often have to violate etiquette and 'tame' the floating food with their hands. For purposes of hygiene, dry and moist napkins are included in the table set. Food waste, wrappings and used napkins are put away in hermetic 'bags.' Tidiness is the primary condition on board a spaceship. Any crumb or speck appearing in the atmosphere of the cabin can affect the spaceman's respirator system or damage an instrument."
---"The Soviet Space Man's Menu," Vasily Dupik, Space World, December 1971 (p. 42-43)

"The Soviet astronauts aboard the orbiting Salyut space laboratory took a bread from their routine today, and two of them raised tubes of prune paste to toast the 38th birthday of Viktor I. Patsayev, the craft's test engineer...The fare aboard the Salyut according to Tass, included tubes of cottage cheese, juices and pastes and cans of veal, sugared fruit, nuts and prunes. Tubes are used for liquids because of the weightless atmosphere, which makes it difficult to 'drink' anything. 'Vladislav Volkov presented me with an onion, and Georgi Dobrovolsky with a lemon. They had brought their presents from earth and had kept silent about them, wanting to surprise me. I especially enjoyed the onion.'"
---"Birthday Party is Held in Space," New York Times, June 20, 1971 (p. 29)

"The meals eaten in orbit by the crews of the early Soviet spaceships, Vostok 1 and Vostok 2 [1961]when the possibilities of human diet in a state of weightlessness were still unknown, consisted of purees in aluminum tubes, and bite-size read rolls wrapped in polymer film At that time these were considered the only space foods. They were used during the subsequent flights of Vostok and Voskhod spaceships.The Soviet canning industry manufactures more than 30 products in tubes. Soviet scientists propose replacing the aluminum tubes with special polymer packets adapted for space conditions. The packets will be used not only for preserved foods but also to warp various dehydrated dishes and beverages. The powders or briquettes can easily e dissolved in war or cold water. At first there was not rigid requirements as to the weight and volume of the meals provided for spaceship crews. In the flights of short duration (up to five days) the food supply was laid in just before launching and the diet included natural foods freshly prepared by ordinary culinary methods. Later, a daily intake of about 2,600 calories had to be supplied for the crews of multi-seat spacecraft, which necessitates restricting the weight and volume of the provisions. This being the case, none of the products formerly used (except those in tubes) could be employed. Various methods of preservation and new types of packaging were investigated. All the known industrial methods of food processing were tested: deep freezing, sublimational and thermal dehydration, hot and cold sterilization, and dry-curing. The outcome was a range of products which were subjected to psychological tests after having been passed by a special commission of tasters. Simultaneously a search was made for methods of processing and packaging meat products so that their quality remained as close as possible to that of freshly-cooked foods. The most acceptable sizes, processing methods and recipes for all dry foods in briquettes were determined. Sublimational dehydrated biscuits and meat were prepared in the shape of briquettes and rectangular pieces measuring .8 inch by .8 inch. The briquettes and rectangular pieces were made into portions of 4 X 1.5 inches. Natural foods were given the same shape. To prevent crumbs, these pieces were wrapped in an edible film made from a gelatin base. A devise for warming food in tubes was installed in the Soyuz 9 spacecraft [1970], and the cosmonauts had hot soups and drinks. The diet of Andrain Nikolayev and Vitali Sevastyanov while in orbit was based on a three-day menu consisting of four daily meals: breakfast, lunch, diner and supper, with a symmetrical distribution of foodstuffs and calories in the first two and last two meals. The dimensions of the Soyuz 9 provided more space for storing provisions, thus there was a wider choice of products for the cosmonauts. There was a variety of preserved foods in aluminum tubes and tins. The considerably larger assortment made it possible to take the personal tastes of the crew members into account while maintaining the food value of the diet as a whole. Soups in tubes (beet soul, cabbage soup and tomato rice soup) were warmed up and used for the first time; ham, luncheon meat, minced pork with egg and pastes were added to the list of meat preserves There were several types of rye bread and also honeycakes. Sweets are popular among the cosmonauts. Heat-resistant chocolate, chocolate bonbons with nuts and various types of cookies have been included in the diet. They are all made bite-size in polymer film. The diet includes dry-cured river fish, prunes, prunes with nuts, dry sponge cake, cream with glucose and other foods.Soviet scientists believe that during long flights it may prove profitable to base the feeding system on the reproduction or synthesis of food directly in the spaceships and the aid of special installations, instead of on stocks of provisions. However, they feel certain that food stocks will always account for a part of the diet of spacemen."Space World, November, 1974 (p. 40)

[1971: Apollo 15]
"Mercury and Gemini pilots used to say 'ugh' when they dined in space. But Apollo astronauts say 'mmm' and reach in the pantry for more. Space foods have come a long way from the applesauce John Glenn squeezed from a toothpaste-type tube on America's first orbital mission in 1962. On the Apollo 15, scheduled for launch to the moon today, astronauts David R. Scott, James B. Irwin and Alfred M. Worden will have a variety of food, which includes soem new items like beef steak, mushroom soup and hamburgers. Scott and Irwin plan a breakfast of steak and scrambled eggs before they strike out on each of their three moon driving explorations. Rita Rapp, a food specialist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said, 'I like to feed them what they like, because I want them healthy and happy. The steak is very, very good, and the men like it...It is cooked with natural juices. The only disadvantage is that it is all cooked the same way. There is no choice of rare, medium or well done.' She explained that the meat had to be thoroughly cooked to avoid bacteria that could spread in weightless space. She also said the astronauts had to eat the steak cold, and that they probalby would eat it as a sandwich. The hamburgers are prepared the same way. Another new food for Scott and Irwin is fruit sticks that fit inside their space helmets at mouth level. If they get hungry while prowling the moon's surface, they just take a bite. The astronauts now use spoons to dine on turkey, pot roast, meat balls, scrambled eggs and other dinners which are reconstituted with hot water. Also aboard are bread and various sandwich spreads and puddings and fruits in zip-top cans. Irwin will have his favorite soups aboard, thanks to the help of his friends, Carl and Vita Hinshaw of Lake Wales, Fla. Hinshaw is a plane salesman and owner of Chalet Suzanne Foods...specializing in courmet soups. 'Jim particularly likes romaine sopup, one moy mother has been serving for over 40 years...Jim also is fond of the crab mushroom soup.' Irwin asked Miss Rapp if she could figure out how he coudl take some of the soup along. She said they worked out a method of freeze-drying the soup and placing it in heavy plasctic containers. The soup can be reconstituted with water."
---"Heavenly Fare in the Pantry For Moon Crew," Los Angeles Times, July 26, 1971 (p. A1)

[1972: Apollo 16]
"The astronauts are eating potassium-enriched foods on the moon to prevent irregular heart rhythms--but that doesn't mean they have to like it. John W. Young summed it up a few words on the moon just how intolerable some of the stuff was. His special peeve is a potassium-enriched orange drink made for him. Young didn't realize that his microphone to Charles M. Duke was open, and that every word could be heard in Mission Control and around the world. He complained first that, 'I got (gas on the stomach) again...I haven't eaten this much citrus fruit in 20 years.'...Actually, space food has come a long way over the years. The bacon cube...was a long stride forward in dining out aloft. But it is sort of of old fashioned now and better things have been devised. A dismal failure, on the other hand, was the strawberry cube. The day the Apollo 16 astronauts lifted of from Cape Kennedy...they ate a potassium-enriched breakfast that had been frozen several weeks earlier and then thawed. It consisted...of a 'rubbery omelet' and a steak that required a consistent and long chewing process to get down. The eggs for the omelet were specially selected, because no two eggs have the same amount of potassium. Two had to be found that had the correct total amount. And the amount of potassium in an egg depends on what the hen eats before laying it...Food has definately come a long way, and [David] Scott's wife once told this story about it: She said that when her husband was on the Apollo 9 flight in 1969, the astronauts all agreed after the eighth day that the food tasted pretty much alike because 'you can't have anything hot and you don't have anything cold. David said they felt kind of bad, so they took all the food that was left and dumped it in a big bag and fished around to find something they liked toward the end of the flight.' By the time Scott flew again in Apollo 15 last July, the menu had changed and Mrs. Scott said the astronauts cleaned up everything on th ship...the strawberry cube was 'perfectly formulated and perfectly designed, engineering-wise and nutritionally.' But there was a difficulty. One cube was all an astronaut could stomach. Now the space agency gives them away to important visitors as souvernir, encased in plastic."
---"Young Finds Potassium Too Rich in Burps," Nicholas C. Chriss, Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1972 (p. J12)

[1973: Skylab]
"Although a spacecraft is not likely to rate three stars in the Guide Michelin in the near future, mealtime in space is definitely improving. Aboard Skylab, the orbiting laboratory slated to be launched in 1973, astronauts will eat with forks and spoons from trays in a designated dining area. The tableware, trays and dining area will all be first in space. The food will be homelike and ample, as a typical dinner menu for Skylab indicates-turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, peaches, cookies, and coffee. The meal will not excite Julia Child or M.F. K. Fisher, particularly when you consider that every item will be either frozen, canned or freeze-dried, but the fare on Skylab will be a big improvement over what was available on early space missions. In those pioneering days astronauts simply squirted food into their mouths from tubes. Later, food cubes or squares augmented the squeeze tubes. Practically all the food was dehydrated by freeze-drying to reduce bulk. Cubes and squeeze tubes were used on early space flights because under zero-gravity condition as objects to funny things. If you're eating a spoonful of peas, for example, you have to move the spoon to your mouth in one smooth motion. If you stop you hand for some reason, the peas keep right on traveling-individually. (On Skylab peas will be in a sauce designed to hold them together.) Liquids ball up into one big square or a lot of little spheres. The favorite food on the early Apollo flights was the bacon square. 'Happiness was an extra bacon square,' says Dr. Malcom Smith, chief of food and nutrition for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The astrounauts may have gobbled up this item, but they left a lot of other food untouched. Strawberry cubes, for example. Although perfectly formulated and designed form an engineering and nutritional standpoint, the strawberry cubes--in fact, most of the cube foods--simply failed to please the astronauts after a few days in space. NASA had so many strawberry cubes left over that officials passed them out as souveniers at a recent press conferenence. For the journalists, the strawberry cubes were somewhat unappetizingly sealed in blocks of lucite. Dissatisfaction with available cuisine undoubtedly resulted in weight loss among astronauts, although part of the loss was probably due to the 'full feeling' that astronauts claim accompanies weightlessness. Luckily for the space program, this 'full feeling' seems to wear off on a few days. The average weight loss per man on U.S. space missions has been about three to four pounds, with some men losing as many as ten pounds. It should be remembered. however, that missions.) to date have been fairly short. (The longest at this writing was that of Apollo 15, which lasted two weeks.) By Apollo 15, space foods have been improved considerably, and the astronauts at almost all the food available. Their favorite--space sandwiches with real, nondehydrated bread. Despite the marked improvement on space food, NASA planners face much larger problems with Skylab than with past missions. Skylab will serve as a habitat for one mission of twenty-eight days and two missionms of fifty-six days each. And studies indicate that after even a short time in a confined habitat, the most motivated crewmen begin to grow bored and mildy depressed. Aboard Tektite, for example, an experimential underseas habitat in which several NASA researchers were confined, aquanauts made out lists of what they missed most. Items one, two and thre were, respectively, family, sex and creative activities. Item four was milk and ice cream. Item five was fresh fruits and vegetables. Alcohol was seventh, and tobacco ranked fourteenth. NASA psychologist Charles C. Kubokawa, who participated in one Tektite mission--on which most of the food was frozen--reports that after eight days of frozen fare the aquanauts began skipping breakfast and lunch. The snacked periodically during the day until dinner. According to Kubokawa, the big problem is monotony. Even a bottle of soy sauce he brought along didn't help. Wine, he believes, definitely would have '101 per cent.' Harry H. Watters, another NASA observer on Tektite, claims that the impact of frozen fare would have been more favorable if the aquanauts had been able to select all of their own food. When the crewmen chose their own food, he noted, they complained less. The astronauts aboard Skylab will select all of their own food, but the selection process itself creates problems. Skylab, like all space missions, is planned long in advance, and the crews will have to select their menus some eighteen months before launch date. As one NASA official put it, 'Can you imagine what you'd like to eat on a Tuesday in 1973?' On Skylab the astronauts will take food from a storage compartment, fit the containers into trays, and carry the trays to the dining area. There each astronaut will latch his tray onto one of three pedestals, then throw a switch to heat the foods that require it. Freeze-dried items require different treatment. Using a special water gun, the astronauts will inject plastic bags of dehydrated foods with water according to to directions on the bqags and then knead the contents to the right consistency. The type of food planned for a space mission--frozen, canned, or freeze-dreied--has much to do with the vehicle's water supply. Aboard the Apollo flights and the space shuttle scheduled for the late 1970s, water is plentiful--a by-product of the fuel cells that generate the spacecrafts' electricity...Obviously freeze-dried foods are desirable for these missions, since they have little bulk and weight and because water is plentiful. Electricity for Skylab, however, is to be produced by solar batteries. All the water for Skylab will have to be launched from earth, so the advantages of freeze-dried foods are greatly diminished. As a result, on Skylab the food will primarily be frozen or canned. In confined habitats snacking has proved to be one of the most popular pastimes. In fact, one four-man crew in a space simulation at 800 chocolate bars in ninety datys. As a recult, candy bars, dried fruit, and cookies are scheduled to be part of the larder of Skylab and the space shuttle. Ice cream has also proved to be a popular favorite. Aboard Skylab, equipped to handle frozen foods, ice cream will be no problem, but the situation different for the proposed space shuttle. Becuase of power requirements, the shuttle will not be ables to carry frozen foods. However, NASA seems to have the problem solved. The solution--rehydratable ice cream. Just add cold water. It should be said that space food is not cheap, although it is cheaper than it used ot be. It will cost about $75 per day to feed each astronaut on Skylab, compared with $142-$190 er day for Apollo crewmen and a staggering $300 per day for each Gemini astronaut. Interestingly, only a small part of the cost is the food itself, which is often donated by the manufacturers. Inspection, controls, packaging, design, and other operations account for most of the expense. Still, as Dr. Malcolm Smith of NASA says, 'If you put a ten-cent meal on Skylab that messes up a multimillion-dollar program, you'd feel awfully bad.' There is much talk today about international cooperation in space and, in fact, space missions with internatikonal crew. Imagine what might be on the menu then: freeze-dried sweet and sour pork? f rozen paella? canned cavier? Bon Appetit."
---"Eating in Space: It's no picnic up there," Barbara Ford, Saturday Review, May 13, 1972 (p. 52-54)

[1985: Space Shuttle Discovery]
"Remember the bad old days of space travel, when astronauts had to subsits on pastelike food sucked from toothpast tubes, graham crackers squashed into cubes and insipid little dried-beef sandwiches they had to rehydrate with their saliva? Well, all that has changed. During the next missoin...th crew of the space shuttle Discovery will be consumoing comparatively normal dishes such as green beans with mushrooms and meatballs with barbecue sauce...Much of the food is bought right off the shelf in groceries in the Houston area and freeze-dried or repackaged. All the space traveler has to do now is float over to the gally, squirt six ounces of water into a food pack, heat and serve. What has made this possible is the realization that socentists' initial apprehensions--particularly the belief that weightlessness would make it difficult to chew and swallow food--were groundless and that space travel requires no special diet. Astronauts require only safe, nutrtious fare that is easy to prepare. Indeed, 12 hours before each flight the shuttle is laded with fresh bananas, oranges, peaches, carrots, celery, bread and the like for the first few days. Since the orbiter has no refrigerator, the astronauts rely on packaged foods later in the flight. 'We ry to use as much commercially available food as we can,' said Rita Rapp, manager of the shuttle's food system, who has been with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since 1961 and who worked on meals for the Apollo probram in 1966, 'For years the crew have been saying they want to eat everyday things from the grocery store. It just shows thagt people like what they are familiar with...The current crew might be eating breakfast rolls from Sara Lee, diced pineapple form Del Monte, chocolate instant breakfast from Carnation or M&M peanuts from Mars. Inc. They can also spice things up with taco cause, ketchup, barbecue sauce and other condiments, which come in the familair cellophane packets offered by fast-food outlets. One of the main lessons learned in more than two decades of space flight is that the body requires much the same nutrition intake 195 nautical miles above the earth as on its survace. The menu provides normal recommended dialy allowances of protein, vitamins, calcium, phosophorous and other essentials. Because of the energy astronauts expend, even in a weightless environonment, they must also maintain their normal caloric intake to preseve body weight. At the same time improvements in toilet facilities have ended the need for the low-residue diet imosed on early space travelers; the shuttle crew can eat fibrous items such as bran flakes and granola for breakfast. The menus consist of five basic food types: Thermostabilized--A fancy term for canned. Many off-the-shelf canned goods such as tuna and chocolate pudding are used... Intermediate moisture--Low-moisture foods such as dried peaches or apricots, packed in plastic. Rehydratable--Prepared foods from which water has been removed by freeze-drying or sublimation, or dried foods such as cereals...Natural form--Fresh foods, eggs, cookies, bread and the like. Beverages== Powdered apple, grape and other drinks, including--still--that space pioneer, Tang. The rehydratable foods require the most processing at NASA. Dishes such as cauliflower with cheese, diced chicken and scrambled eggs are prepared and cooked first, usually in batches of 200 servings. Then they are placed on shelves in a freeze driedr, wehre the moisture is sucked out; they are canned for later use. (In some cases ordinary commercial freeze-dried food made for packpakers is used.)...The meals cost about $50 a day for each crew member, the cost of the food itself being trivial compared with the processing and testing. Breakfast and lunch coat about $12.50 each and dinner $25. As for the taste, Col Robert L. Stewart, the specialist who, on the Feburary 1984 mission, maneuvered in space using a jet pack, said, 'it was very good--the dehydrated vegetables certainly tasted as good a frozen vegetables from the store.' He said the dehydrated shrimp cocktail and most of the irradated foods, particularly the beefsteak. No one liked the broccoli...'but then we weren't broccoli eaters on the ground.' The colonel said he did not fancy powdered eggs either, so he mixed it with taco sauce. According to Colonel Stewart, space flight did not affect appetites but seemed to affect the taste buds. 'On the ground we liked the sweet fruit juices, such as mango...In orbit we generally found them too sweet.'...For every mission the food staff recommends a combination of dishes, rotating through different foods every seven days, with the menus repeating after the first week. Crew members are not obliged to follow the schedule...and several do not. Some eat regular meals at regular intervals; others prefer to snack. After astronauts complained about the set menusl, a 'pantry' with extra items was added. Special reuqests are honored if possible...Miss Rapp will not say which one--who asked for trail mix. Thus far no special meals have been provided for religious or medical reasons...On board, meal preparations takes 30 to 60 minutes...The galley, installed on the middeck of the shuttle cabin, resembles galleys aboard commercial airliners. The meal packages are removed from storage and those that require rehydration are placed in a rack. Crew members dial the proper number of ounces of water required and push in the rack, automatically puncturing the seals and injecting the water. Then items are placed in a convection oven above for heating to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. That is not enough to permit real cooking, not that shuttle crews have time for such diversions. On the prolonged space flights expected in the future, NASA officials anticipate that some astronauts will want to cook as a form of recreation...administrators are considering cooking facilities in space vehicles so that a future space traveler, hit with the urge for a medium-rare steak and baked potato, could have just that."
---"Dining a la Carte in the Space Shuttle, With a Choice of Entrees," Robert Reinhold, New York Times, January 16, 1985 (p. C1)

[2004: International Space Station]
"Cutting calories in space is more aobut sorting food packets than eating a little less and saving the rest for later. In space, there are no leftovers. On Thursday, NASA officials asked the two astronauts aboard the International Space Station to stretch their food supplies until a cargo ship arrives in a couple of weeks with fresh groceries. But this does not mean strict dieting or listening to the rumble of hungry stomachs, a NASA doctor said Friday. 'The astronauts can eat less and still be well within the margins of nutritional adequacy'...Dr. Roden said the astronauts, who remain healthy, could make minor adjustments to reduce their normal intake of 3,000 calories by about 10 percent...While 3,000 calories daily might seem high, it is the amount an active athlete would eat and is necessary to compensate for life in space...Each astronaut exercises two hours a day on a treadmill or cycle device to protect bones and muscles from the deletrious effects of weightlessness...Last week the astronauts got new menus, which they use as guidelines for selecting food from the station stores...The prepackaged food items cannot be reused or saved after opening...For example, a lunch on Dr. Chiao's menu included tomato soup, beef stroganoff, chicken teriyaki, broccoli au gratin, corn, shortbread cookies and green tiea. Cutting out the chicken would reduce the meal's calories and still leave the astronaut with plenty to eat...Before being assigned to station duty, each astronaut selects favorite foods and the station normally stocks both American and Russian itesm. Colonel Sharipov's menus include borsht with meat and jellied pike perch, as well as waffles and chicken fajitas. Dr. Chiao has selected tofu with hoisin sauce and pickled cucumbers, along with beef brisket and cheese grits."
---"Doctor Offers Assurances that Astronauts Won't Go Hungry," Warren E. Leary, New York Times, December 11, 2004 (p. A12)

[2006: space food news & notes]
"The first rule about cooking in space for astonauts is don't make anything that crumbles. No one wants to chase a crumb around a space station. Although most people rarely consider what the three people who live on the International Space Station are going to have for dinner, food scientists in Houston spend their days worrying like fussy mothers over what their astonauts eat. More than 400 people have shot into space since 1961, and none have eaten better than the astronauts in the space staions, said Vickie Kloeris, who has been with the space food program for 21 years. 'We have so much more variety...You're going to have a fair number of meat-and-potatoes guys, but we've been incorporating more ethnic food.' A French chef has also gotten into the space food game, working on some canned meals expected to debut in the fall. It is the first time the European Union is contributing to a space menu jointly supplied by Russia and the United States. The new French food will not be on the space shuttle Atlantis...The shuttle, which is largely filled with construction material to expand the space station, will carry a limited cache of food for the station astronauts, including kiwis, oranges, and nectarines. And the shuttle astronauts might donate some of their flour tortillas, if they have any left over. Tortillas are useful in space because they can turn \ anything into a sandwich and do not produce crumbs or mold as easily as bread. When a crew had been stuck in space for six months, a fresh tortilla or the curnch of an apple cam make all the difference in their mood...One trick the NASA food scientists use to keep the astronauts happy is to add lots of tang and spice ot the menu. (And that's not Tang, the powderdered- drink mix.)... In space, the sense of smell is dulled. Weightlessness makes fluid shift from the lower torso to the upper, clogging nasal passages. And an atmosphere without gravity, fed only by filtered, recirculated air, does funny things to odors. Eating out of the cans and plastic pouches stocked in the space station pantry also limits the olfactory pleasures that hot food brings. After a few months of that, a bottle of Tabasco or a raw garlic clove can be heaven. 'We crave anything with a nice, sharp flavor,' Colonel McArthur said. He speaks with the precision of a restaurant critic when he describes his favorite space food dish, dehydrated shrimp cocktail. Medium shrimp coated in sauce are plumped with a spurt of water injected into a plastic pouch, which is massaged to mix the ingredients...Salt and pepper can help...but they are in liquid form; Grains of salt and pepper in microgravity could clog equipment or become lodged in an astronaut's nose or eye. Even a fresh tomato, which the Russian ofent take when it is their turn to resupply the space station, can cause problems. Instead of bigitn right into one the crew has to slice it carefully...Unlike many Americans, the astronauts eat almost all their meals together at a common table. Of course, they are note sitting. They are floating. They use a toehold to stay in place, and attach bottles of ketchup and utensils to the table with straps and Velcro. They use forks and spoons, but the food has to be moist enough to stick together. The astronauts use two heating systems for food, one Russian, one American. The American syustemj is largely based on hot water and plastic pouches. The Russian one uses cans fo food that are heated in compartmetnhs inset into the galley. But everyone shares food. Colonel McArthur developed a taste for the Russain's lamb stew, and he likes the pulp juice they supply. The Americans srealized that the Russians want soup every day, so they included more soup in the communal pantry...Sometimes, when the shuttles resupply the station, the astronauts get special treats. On the shuttle Discovery mission last month, it was food developed by Emeril Lagasse, the New Orleans chef and Food Network star. The NASA public affairs office contacted the chef 18 months ago to aks him to make a morale-boosting call to the astronauts. Mr. Lagasse's team...countered with the idea of creating a spicy culinary diversion. Mr. Lagasse developed five recpes that the NASA kitchen then turned into freeze-dried packets, each about the size of a deck of cards...Fruit pandowdy had to lose the curst (the crumb issue), and rum extract had to be used instead of real rum in the bread pudding because alcohol is not allowed in space. The three space station astronauts on Expedition 13--a Russian, a German and an American--tried the food this month, giving Mr. Lagasse their critiques directly in a live satelite chat... The kicked-up mashed potatoes with bacon were a hit as was the jambalaya. Back on earth, Ms. Kloeris, who manages the space station food system, said NASA was not seeking out more chefs to get into the space food business and was not likely to keep a steady supply of Mr. Lagasse's food shooting into space. But the green beans with garlic he helped develop may be adapted for future flights...New Orleans jambalaya is certainly a long way from the gelatin-coated food cubes and aluminum tubes of applesauce that sustained the first Gemini astronauts. Things started to improve with the Apollo missions, the first on which food was rehydrated with hot water. When Ms. Kloeris came on board there was little in-house food development. The first shuttle menus used commercially available products that NASA cooked and freeze dried. It was a budgetary concession, she said. By the late 1980s, once it became clear that the space station would not be outfitted with refrigerators or freezers, NASA began developing its own food. More than 60 products have come out of Ms. Kloeris's kitchen. She is particualry proud of some of the warm desserts like a cobbler and a chocolate pudding cake. The astronauts on the shuttles, who are in space for 10 to 15 days, have to be content with store-bought candy and cookies. But astronauts orbiting for months needed something a little special to end their meals...Her latest challenge is how to prepare and package food for the planned expeditions to Mars. The food will need a five-year shelf life, because it will be shot into space before the actual diners are. The timeline is long because it takes six months to send the food up there, another six to get the astronauts up and six more to return them. The allowances have to made for the vagaries of weather and mechanical problems that could add more time."
---"Taking Humdrum Astronaut Food, and Kicking It Up a Notch," Kim Severson, New York Times, August 29, 2006 (p. F2)

[2013] Chris Hadfield, Space Chef in Chief/NPR Astronaut fruitcake, 2 ways
Space menus and recipes were developed by The US Army Laboratories, Natick Massachusetts. Of these, two fruitcake recipes were shared with the American public. The first version was introduced in 1968. The pineapple version, referenced in Apollo 10 & 11 food notes, was released in 1972.

[1968]
"Although the U.S. Army Natick Laboratories originally created this fruitcake recipe for space food for the astronauts, there is no reason why you can't prepare this simplified version for the youngsters at your house. Surely they will like the idea of eating the same delicious dessert the astronauts eat. Furthermore, you'll like all the energy power and nutrients packed into each scrumptious slice, right along with glace cherries, chopped pecans and Bordo imported dates. So bake this very special 'Astronaut Fruitcake' for your children this week, and stand by to receive a hearty 'A-OK!'

Astronaut Fruitcake
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3 cups imported diced dates or whole pitted dates, cut up
1 cup glace cherries, quartered.
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Place nuts, cherries, quartered dates, in a bowl and mix until pieces of fruit no longer stick together and nuts are well dispersed in the fruit mixture. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the fruit mixture, while mixing by hand. Beat eggs and vanilla until frothy. Add to the fruit mixture and mix until all ingredients are completely moistened. Generously grease bottoms of 4 1/2 X 9 1/2 inch loaf pans, and bake fruitcake in preheated 300 degree (F.) oven for two hours, or until firm. Store in airtight container."
---"'Astronaut Fruitcake' Great for Kids, Dad," Daily Telegram [Eau Claire WI], July 30, 1968 (p. 7)

[1972]
"The Apollo 17 astronauts kept munching on their own special fruitcake during man's last planned flight to and from the mon. You might want to put it on your Christmas surprise menu. At the request of the Associated Press, U.S. Army Laboratories of Natick, Mass., scaled down the recipe for 'Astronaut Fruitcake' and tested it for baking in home kitchens. The following recipe will yield about two pounds. It may be baked in ten 3-ounce sizes or in two 1-pound coffee cans.

The Recipe
2-3 cup cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons shortening
1 extra large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup light raisins
1/2 cup halved candied cherries
1/3 cup candied pineapple in 1/2 inch dices
1 cup pecan pieces
Mix and sift together flours, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside. Cream sugar and shortening together thoroughly. Add egg to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Blend in dry ingredients and water. Fold fruit and nuts into batter, mix until evenly distributed. To form each 3-ounce cakes, place 1/2 cup batter on 12-inch square of heavy duty foil, or a durable thickness of regular foil. Flatten batter to depth of 3/4 inch. Fold sides around the cake batter, then fold up edges of foil so batter is tightly wrapped and will not lose moisture during baking. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees F. Allow to cool thoroughly--preferably overnight--before unwrapping and serving. Two 1-pound cakes may be made by placing half the batter in each of two 1-pound coffee cans. Cover top of can with foil and crimp edges to form seal. Bake upright in a pan of water in 300 degree F oven for 3 1/2 hours. Be sure the foil does not touch the water in the pan, as it may draw up water into the cake during the baking."
---"Moonmen's Fruitcake Recipe Given," Gettsyburg Times [PA], December 16, 1972 (p. 20)

Biosphere 2
In 1991 a crew of four men and four women hermetically sealed themselves into
Biosphere 2, a two-year experiment of total sustainability sponsored by NASA. The facility is now owned by the University of Arizona where it serves as an educational scientific training facility.

We wondered (of course!) what did the Biospherans eat? These notes from The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2, Jane Poynter [Thunder's Mouth Press:New York] 2006 answered some of our questions.

"In many ways we had stepped back in time, rejecting the yield-maximizing techniques of the Green Revolution, which required petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. We could not use them because some are horribly toxic, and because we would not be able to make them inside the Biosphere, and would eventually have to import more, which went against the notion of our little world being self-sustaining. Instead, we fell back on the ancient techniques of organic framing that people practiced thousands of years ago in China and elsewhere. Like the ancients, we understood the importance of complete, unending cycles such as the sun's as it blazed across the sky. Solstices and equinoxes were our major holidays. Chinese farmers particularly understood the need for complete nutrient cycles, returning human 'night soil' to the fields. Our and our animal's waste returned to our fields via the marsh lagoon waste-recycling system and the compost machine, a grandiose term for a large hammer mill atop a holding tank...Also like the Chinese farmers, we divided our family-sized half-acre farm into small plots, eighteen in all, so we could rotate a wide variety of crops all year, according to the season and what we needed: more grain, more beans, more starch. One area...grew only vegetables. She produced lettuce, green beans, bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplants, kale, onion, pak choi, snow peas, squash, shard, and tomatoes, from a nine-hundred-square-foot area...The Chinese long ago devised a synergistic rice paddy system...Swimming around the plants were tilapia fish, which live largely on small creatures growing in the paddies that would otherwise attack the rice. The fish also grazed on azolla, a small fern floating thickly on the water. The tilapia nosed around in the roots for food, thereby aerating the plants with oxygen, and they added nutrients to the water via their feces, thereby boosting rice productions. When we harvested the rice, we also harvested fish dinners! The rice paddy-fish system used the natural structure of ecosystems to increase farmland productivity, as did the tropical orchard. banana, papaya, and guava formed the upper canopy, and shade-loving...taro absorbed the remaining photons below. Sometimes chickens roamed the orchard, eating insects living in the leaf litter...From the viewpoint of a NASA life support system, the Biosphere 2 Intensive Agriculture Biome was a closed-loop, bio-regenerative, nonpolluting, self-sustaining, intensive agriculture system." (p. 180-182)

"After our fifteen minute break, which we took every weekday at 10:30 a.m. sharp, I went into the animal bay to check on Sheena, the African pigmy goat...When in the animal bay, I often thought about how we received all this wonderful milk, eggs, and meat essentially for free. The miniature chickens, pigs, and goats lived off stuff we could not eat. When we harvested a plot of peanuts, we would get the nuts, and the four does would transform the greens into an average of five ounces of milk per person per day. They particularly liked bean pods, which we fed as a treat to keep them busy while we milked them...The big bay--about thirty feet by fifty-feet--add large windows around most of the twenty-foot high walls. The floor of two of the five pens was a one-foot deep soil bed for chickens to scratch and peck. Here I collected a few eggs that the Jungle Fowl had lid. The other pens, where goats, chickens, and pigs ran together, had concrete floors that were easy to clean. The meat from the livestock provided an insignificant average of 43 calories per biosphere per day, all eaten at Sunday dinner. The milk provided only 100 calories per person, but 16 percent of our badly needed fat intake. Peanuts provided another 36 percent, and bananas a surprising 31 percent." (p. 183-185)

"Life in Biosphere 2 was often reduced to numbers. 257,898, and 134: the number of eggs, the pounds of milk, and pounds of meat produced in the first year. 30,000: the approximate pounds of soil in Biosphere 2. 1,000: the gallons of water condensed out of the air every day for showers, drinking, and irrigation. Bananas turned out to be one of the most important ingredients in our diet. In the first of your two years in Biosphere 2 we ate just over a ton of bananas, only slightly less than the 1.3 tons of sweet potatoes. The 208 calories a day we each were manna from heaven and I still eat a banana a day. Bananas were the sweeteners in our desserts and ice cream, and they were the thickeners in our pies and puddings...We froze them, we dried them. They even made the best booze, although we did not ferment many, as it was a waste of good food. The banana storage room was the the only locked room in the entire Biosphere, as the yellow fruit hanging in huge bunches from stainless steel chains was too much of a temptation even for highly disciplined biospherians. Since the white potatoes had succumbed to broad mite, sweet potatoes had taken their place in our diet, providing over half our daily calories. We were eating so many that we were turning orange from the beta-carotene...Beets grew prolifically, and we left them in the ground longer than normal, greedy for every extra bit. The result was a woody, tasteless borscht, day after day...Since we were mostly vegetarian, beans were vital to our diet. Soy and peas provided some variety, but the...lablab beans continued to be the most prolific, winding high up into the spaceframe and flopping over the balcony to form an edible curtain where they entwined the leaves of the papaya trees, our other prolific fruit producer. Papayas were a biospherian delicacy...Along with bananas, the papayas made our morning porridge tasty. For grains, we grew rice, sourghum, and wheat. The wheat variety, Yecora Rojo, was developed for and grown in space by scientists at Utah State University. They gave it to us to grow since it was a high-yielding, short plant. It wasted little energy on growing stems and leaves. In March, we harvested the first wheat fields."(p. 185-186)

"It was a decent harvest, so I made a pizza to celebrate. As I savored it, I considered how it had taken four whole months to make. We had all participated in the creation of this pizza, either by planting, watering, weeding, or finally, harvesting. Never had my connection to my food been so direct or so satisfying. Here is the recipe for our pizza.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Biopsherian Pizza

The Flour
Rake and level one field
Drip one wheat seed every six inches into four-inch-deep furrows made with a hoe.
Cover with soil, water, and let sit for three months while the plants grow. Intermittently weed, irrigate, and control pests so the plants produce healthy heads of seed.
After three months, or when the plants are beginning to brown on the edges, turn off all irrigation and let sit another few weeks.
Once the plants are golden brown, harvest with pruning shears (do not use a hand scythe as this shakes loose precious wheat grains, wasting them on the ground).
Process all the wheat in the threshing machine, being careful not to get your hand caught. Sift out remaining chaff. Place wheat.
stalks in the animal bay for bedding.
Set aside some grain to replant wheat crop.
Grind half a pound of kernels into flour and carry up to the kitchen.

The Topping
Feed four African Pigmy goat does banana leaves, elephant grass, and crop residue. When each is in heat, place with Buffalo Bill, the buck. Wait until babies are born.
Help mother with birth if necessary and wait another six weeks to wean the kids.
Milk does.
Set milk on back kitchen shelf for two weeks to ferment.
Once thickened, set in cheesecloth and hang twenty-four hours to strain. Carry into the kitchen.
The day of making the pizza, collect one pound of tomatoes, two Anaheim chiles, three jalapenos, and herbs as available.

The Pizza
Take the half-pound of wheat flour and mix with two tablespoons of live sourdough that Sierra continually maintains.
Mix with water until a doughy consistency, knead and let sit overnight.
Roll out the dough into two nine-inch pie pans. Prick with a fork.
Cook two sweet potatoes in their skins.
In the blender, puree tomatoes with sweet potatoes as thickener and season to taste with sea salt stolen from the Ocean supplies.
Spread evenly over piecrust.
Sprinkle with cheese, sliced peppers, and herbs.
Place in oven at 350 degrees and cook until cheese has melted and the crust has turned a golden brown.
Remove from oven, slice and serve piping hot." (p. 186-188)

"Although I had projected being able to row only about 80 percent of our food, we were in fact doing much better than that. We were eating entirely from what we were growing--100 percent Biosphere 2-grown food. Unfortunately, we accomplished this by eating a great deal less than we would have liked. We were all losing weight. The guys lost on average 18 percent of their weight...The women lost about 10 percent. None of us was in danger of malnutrition, as the diet was complete...However, the protein content was marginal for highly active people at an average of 63 grams per person per day. By contrast, body builders eat 1 gram of protein a day for every pound of body weight...We were far from starving, but I was beginning to understand the terrible plight of people in the world who are truly hungry...aside from the misery of hunger itself, it is a dreadfully helpless feeling to not have enough energy to fix the problem that caused the hunger in the first place. Farming is...hard work." (p. 188-189)


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© Lynne Olver 2006
20 February 2014