What are the astronauts snacking on in space?
Ekaterina Afanasenko, Head of international Projects at Space Food Laboratory, the «kitchen» prepping meals for Hazzaa and his team will speak at the yummex Munch! Stage and provide specialised insights into «Snacking in Orbit».
Her session will explore the strategic importance of sending great food into space with astronauts and the technical challenges that come with creating tasty snacks that are fit for space travel.
UAE’s first astronaut to go into space, for example, received a special menu that caters to his needs, including madrooba and balaleet. Mr. Al Mansouri is provided with a menu of Emirati delicacies including canned halal salona — a chicken stew — the pounded meat and rice dish madrouba, and balaleet, sweetened vermicelli served with an omelette, for breakfast.
In case you’re wondering about his carb intake in space, bread has long been avoided by the space program as it often lacks the structure and shelf life needed to work as space food.
What’s in a space traveller’s food?
With the challenge of developing food to eat in microgravity, scientists are faced with basic questions such as could food be digested easily? Or how would it react to extreme pressure and vibrations during launch? A strict checklist is followed. Food must be crumble-free, lightweight, easy to prepare and consume, long-lasting with no need for refrigeration and nutritious enough to sustain an astronaut throughout space duties.
The food is processed in special pouches enabling it to be eaten at zero gravity, according to the Russian state news agency, Sputnik.
FUN FACT: The first meal eaten in space was in the Spring of 1961 by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. He had pureed meat in a squeezable toothpaste-style tube, followed by a tube of chocolate sauce.
But there are definitely some technical food quality and nourishment challenges that must be addressed in space food:
Astronauts have to maintain high work capacities so food has to be rich and diversified.
The conditions in Orbit are different and the body is under enormous pressure so food has to provide physical and mental support such as enzymes and microelements.
To avoid bacteria under sensitive conditions, food has to be of a high quality and sterilised, with a longer shelf life.
About Space Food Laboratory
Founded in 2011, Space Food Laboratory is the first commercial partner that popularised and proliferated accomplishments in the area of special food for space. Its mission is to create innovative space products of exceptional quality using special technologies for mass consumption by people on Earth.