Astronauts located inside the International Space Station are there to work, and they do awesome things, but have you ever wondered how they live and what they eat?
While the ISS is funded by several countries and continents, the actual structure is divided into two sides belonging to the two countries who have taken the responsibility of maintaining it.
These two countries are the USA and Russia. When it comes to food, half of it’s supplied by the USA and the other half by Russia.
Food aboard the ISS has to be shelf stable as there are no fridges, and it has to last two years as restocking food only happens a few times a year. But, accidents happen and, occasionally, a scheduled food drop is postponed. That means that the astronauts need to have a good supply in stock as Uber Eats is out of the question. You can just imagine how expensive that food delivery run is!
Two other things to consider when making or supplying food to the ISS is that the food can’t weigh a lot, since weight is a major factor when the food is delivered, and because astronauts are so busy, it can’t be time consuming to prepare.
The Americans prepare their food at the Johnson Space Centre in Texas. The meals are made out of normal food bought at grocery stores and prepared just like you would at home or at a restaurant.
Just before it’s packaged though, the magic happens. Food is made lightweight and shelf stable through freeze drying or thermostabilization.
As a treat, NASA usually sends fresh fruit along with every rocket that visits the ISS.
Astronauts are allowed to taste the food before they are stationed aboard the ISS to ensure they like what they will be eating for the next two years. They can also request their favourite snacks or drinks to be supplied as well. There is a surprisingly large amount of store-bought food aboard the ISS, although its all packaged in NASA approved packaging first.
Watch the video below to see exactly how food is prepared for the astronauts aboard the ISS.
Image credit: The Sacramento Bee