Space Food: A Look at How Astronaut Scott Kelly Ate in Space

March 22, 2016

Astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned to earth and our fascination with space exploration continues! As avid cooks and lovers of food, we often wondered what it would be like to cook in space. It’s hard enough here on Earth with a little one grabbing at your pant legs while trying to prepare dinner. Image cooking a meal while floating! Watch this fun and interesting video below as Kelly describes what their situation was like on board, especially when it came to what they ate and drank.

Partial transcription:

The International Space Station. What I wanted to try to do today is give you a sense for what our situation is on board, with regards to food and beverages. How we prepare that, what options we have, and how we eat here in space.

So the first thing I'd like to do is get started with where our food is kept. The food that we're actually using is kept in Node 1 of the space station, and it's basically in these food containers, metal food containers, or in some bags that we have here staged for our use. But these food containers are categorized in different categories, I'd guess you'd say. We have some that are side dishes, meats in pouches and cans, vegetables. 

And they're actually packaged in different ways. For instance, most of the meat we have, and other kind of main dishes, are packaged in these green containers. And we heat these up in a small food warmer, and I'll show you what that looks like. But basically they're little green packages of meat. In this case, this is beef tips with mushrooms, and we have Crawfish E'toufee. And these are what's called irradiated foods, so they're hit with large doses of radiation to kill any bacteria so they can stay at room temperature and not spoil. There's also some stuff in here that's kind of off the shelf, like this tuna fish that we have.

We also have some rehydratable food items. Water is heavy, and I'll talk a little bit about our water later. But they take the water out of the food because it's more efficient to add it once we get on board, and I'll talk about how we make our water here in a little bit. But we have these rehydratable food packages. For instance, here's one. I'll make this for lunch. It's asparagus, and it's in a little plastic container with some dehydrated asparagus. In this case, I'll add 50 milliliters of water to it, and it takes five to 10 minutes to rehydrate. So with that, I'd like to show you how we prepare this food, how we add water, warm it up, and a little bit about the beverages on board as well. So come join me in the lab, where that's accomplished.

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