There was a time when even NASA did not know if a person could eat in zero gravity. Fortunately for the members of future long-term missions, astronaut John Glenn has proven that this is indeed possible. In 1962, aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft, an American squeezed applesauce from a metal tube into his mouth through a hole in his spacesuit.
Much has changed since then. Research conducted at the Space Food Systems Laboratory at the Lyndon Johnson Space Center has significantly improved the flavor, variety, packaging, and storage times and conditions of space travel food. Today, astronauts have access to a menu of over 200 approved food and drink items.
A month before leaving for the ISS, astronauts can make their own meal plans for each day of their stay in space.
So what do astronauts eat in a day with such a variety of foods? Below is an example of a standard menu. For breakfast, astronauts are offered scrambled eggs, cornflakes and spiced apples. For lunch - beef with mushrooms, pilaf, tomatoes, artichokes, flatbread and brownie. Dinner - crayfish etoufe, beef fajitos, tortillas and candied sweet potatoes. Also, the daily diet includes crackers, processed cheese, water, coffee and other drinks.
Sounds delicious, right?
However, as we noted above, this is just a standard set. Astronauts can tweak the menu to include what they love. For example, astronaut Tim Kopra likes to mix many different ingredients into one dish.
Members of the long-term expedition also have the opportunity to order special meals for the holidays. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Chell Lindgren hold their Thanksgiving dinner. It consists of smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes and corn.
Astronauts also have the opportunity to feast on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are delivered to the station every time a spacecraft docks. The only thing that the crew members should eat them as soon as possible, before they go bad. Astronaut Tim Peak doesn't seem to mind:
NASA notes that they are really trying to do everything possible so that astronauts do not get homesick during their stay on the ISS. Therefore, homemade, healthy and vitamin-rich foods really play an important role.
If you want to know a little more about what people eat on the ISS, then read our material about the Research Institute of the Food Concentrate Industry and Special Food Technology of the Russian Agricultural Academy, which is the "kitchen" of our cosmonauts, starting with Gagarin's flight. Here you will also find some interesting facts about space food.