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Eating in the Sky: the Evolution of Space Menus

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Eating in the Sky: the Evolution of Space Menus

The first astronauts had to use their own saliva to rehydrate their meals, or battle with gelatinous shells: but lot's changed since the first man has been sent in the space...

The innovative technology in the cosmic-nutritional sector arrived with the Skylab, the first American Space Station launched in 1973, which introduced personalised menus chosen by each individual astronaut with the help of a nutritionist.

Charles Conrad, the commander of the Apollo 12 and the third man to step foot on the moon on November 19, 1969, was allowed hearty breakfasts of scrambled eggs, sausage, strawberries, jam, orange juice and coffee. In the preceding missions, Mercury and Geminy – the first space pioneers had to re-hydrate their cubed foods with their own saliva or with the dense liquids that they could squeeze out from metallic cylinders resembling tubes of toothpaste.

John Glenn knows something about the matter – as the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and the first to eat a meal while doing so – and had to get accustomed to eating the kinds of bland, hard-to-swallow foods that the rest of us can barely imagine. Aboard the Geminy, for instance, the edible cubes were covered by gelatinous substances to avoid creating crumbs.

Food technology, has, thank heavens, made some progress. It was the cuisine of Cape Canaveral that made “the giant leap” forward with its Apollo program. For Christmas in 1968, the astronauts even got a special surprise: a special lunch of turkey pieces covered with gravy and cranberry sauce. And for the first time, they used spoons in space – which, at the time was truly sensational news.

Photo courtesy Nasa

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