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5 Interesting space food facts:

  1. When Yuri Gagarin become the first human being to go into outer space, he also become the first to eat and do whatever else a human must as a necessary condition of survival. What he ate was stored in toothpaste-like tubes – for instance, his lunch consisted of a liquid paste and chocolate sauce. The first Americans in space – after effectively losing the first phase of the Space Race against the Russians – ate food in cubed, powder, and liquid form and found re-hydrating the freeze-dried foods to be an unpleasant task.
  2. There are different classifications of space food. They are: Beverages (dehydrated of course), Fresh Foods (food with a 2-day shelf life), Irradiated Meat (to keep it from spoiling), Intermediate Moisture (foods that won’t go bad as soon as fresh foods), Natural Form (nuts, cookies, granola bars, etc.), Re-hydratable Foods, and Thermostabilized (food that has been prepared with heat to kill off any possible spoiling agents).
  3. The way a piece of space food is packaged needs to fit certain criteria – aside from basically preserving the food, the packaging must be lightweight, disposable, and useful in how the item is consumed (as well as contain preparation instructions and a bar code, to track the diet of each astronaut). These reasons are largely due to the necessity of accounting for how much space and weight is taken up aboard the ship, as every last pound requires that much more rocket fuel (so less is always more).
  4. Food must be nutritional, easy to digest, and palatable (we saw how that posed a conflict in early space missions). The food must also be made for the purposes of a zero gravity environment; it must be light, sealed properly, and quick/easy to prepare/clean up after.
  5. Every country – which goes into space that is – brings the food they are accustomed to. When China entered orbit in 2003 for the first time, Yang Liwei brought yuxiang pork, Kung Pao chicken, rice, and Chinese herbal tea. Russia brings such foods as borsch, goulash, curds and nuts. Japan brings sushi, ramen, yokan, and rice with ume.

[Sources 1 | 2]

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