A commercial supply craft launched from Virginia to supply astronauts on the International Space Station with science equipment and experiments, but the astronauts may be most excited about the treats on the craft.
ABC News reported that a commercial supply ship from Orbital ATK arrived at the ISS carrying chocolate and vanilla ice cream, as well as ingredients for the astronauts to make their own flatbread pizza. The supply capsule contained “sauce, cheese, pepperoni, anchovy paste, tomatoes, pesto, olive oil and more” as well as ice cream sandwiches and frozen bars. Astronaut Joseph Acaba, currently on the ISS, tweeted his enthusiasm for the treats noting how it was “packed full of #science and supplies.”
Those scientific supplies include mealworms and E. coli bacteria, certainly interesting things to send alongside the aforementioned treats. According to Space.com, the astronauts intend to examine how microgravity affects these organisms as well as how to manage antibiotic resistance. Other sent devices include communication technologies as well as a new, virtual reality camera which can better document what life is like on the ISS. The supply craft, which launched from Virgiania, also carries essential items to survive on the ship such as additional clothes, hardware, and regular food.
The Progression of Space Food
The pizza may not possess as much scientific value as mealworms and cameras, but its inclusion in particular is a clear indication of how space food has advanced since early astronauts ate paste out of tubes. While astronauts today eat foods similar to people on Earth, bread has been banned in space from the beginning as bread crumbs can cause damage by floating into eyes or machinery. In 1965, astronauts on the Gemini III were reprimanded for sneaking a corned beef sandwich on the flight.
Astronauts in space thus normally consume tortilla wraps, and this is why the pizza was flatbread. But New Scientist notes that Germans are at work designing an oven which could bake bread in space. Perhaps in the future, astronauts can enjoy other kinds of pizza in space as well.
Meanwhile, the supply ship, that contains an international driving document, will remain at the space station until the beginning of December, when it will be cut loose carrying a load of trash. It will hover close to the orbiting lab as part of an experiment, then several mini satellites will be released and it will burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry.
SpaceX, NASA’s other prime shipper, will make a delivery next month.