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Far-out Housekeeping on the ISS

Hot Foods and Fresh Fruit

A Science@NASA story by Ron Koczor

Astronaut Loren Shriver demonstrates how objects act in free-fall while enjoying a snack of candy coated peanuts.
The biggest challenge at mealtime for astronauts: catching your food! In this image Astronaut Loren Shriver (STS-46) demonstrates how objects act in free-fall while enjoying a snack of candy coated peanuts. Residents of the ISS have more nutritious choices, too, including fresh fruits shuttled from Earth.

So what is it like being there for months or years at a time? For example, what does the ISS crew eat, and how is it cooked?

All food is delivered by the American space shuttle or Russian Progress vehicle. The crew helps select the foods they want from a wide-ranging menu.

According to Vicki Kloeris, Subsystem Manager for Shuttle and Space Station Food at the Johnson Space Center, food aboard Space Station will come in several forms. "Most of the food will be processed and packaged in pouches or cans. Some will be dehydrated and the astronauts add hot water and eat. Some will be in pouches and cans and you simply heat and eat. A small amount will be fresh food delivered by the Shuttle and Progress.

The fresh food will include fruits and veggies, but nothing that requires refrigeration.

"All of the food will be stored at room temperature. There will be a small refrigerator on board ISS, but power management requirements may not allow its continuous use," said Kloeris.

"I'm sure the crew will enjoy the fresh apples and other fruit and foods whenever the delivery truck arrives!" said Burbank.

ISS will contain more than one oven when it is fully operational. In the early stages, food is being cooked using either a small food warmer built by the Russians or a U.S. built portable food warmer, about the size of a suitcase. Both are convection/conduction ovens rather than microwave. Later stages of ISS may have a microwave oven, but that is not finalized, according to Kloeris.


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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