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KIDS FEATURE
Space Food
05.27.04

Top 10 Foods Astronauts Want to Take
(Space Shuttle Missions STS-26 to STS-56)

  1. Butter cookies
  2. Dried beef
  3. Orange-mango drink
  4. Granola bar
  5. Lemonade
  6. Cashew and macademia nuts
  7. Trail mix
  8. Shrimp cocktail
  9. Potatoes au gratin
  10. Chocolate pudding
What if you went camping for six months? You would be sure to take lots of food. You also take what you need to cook and eat it. You have to keep your food from spoiling. What would you need when you're finished eating? You need a trash bag.

These are the kinds of things astronauts need in space. There are different ways to cook space food. Some food can be eaten right away. Fruit and brownies can. Other food needs water. Spaghetti and macaroni and cheese do. These foods need heat, too. There is an oven on the Space Station. But, there is no refrigerator.

How do they keep food from spoiling? Food must be put into special packages so it won't spoil.

Astronauts eat three meals a day. They have healthy foods. Astronauts can pick their menus. They taste the different foods that they can take. They pick the ones they like. Then they get a sample menu. Those foods go into space with them.

SAMPLE MENU
BREAKFAST
Raspberry Yogurt
Sausage Pattie
Picante Sauce
Tortilla
Oatmeal & Raisins
Granola Bar
Orange-Pineapple Drink
Coffee
LUNCH
Beef Jerky
Grilled Pork Chop
Macaroni & Cheese
Tortilla
Almonds
Trail Mix
Cherry Blueberry Cobbler
Candy Coated Chocolates
Orange-Pineapple Drink
DINNER
Spicy Chicken & Vegetables
Potatoes au Gratin
Fruit Cocktail
Dried Apricots
Macademia Nuts
Granola Bar
Orange-Mango Drink

They can pick the meat they want. They can choose from different drinks. Sometimes they have fresh fruit and vegetables. Don't forget dessert! It may be candy or brownies. Astronauts don't take bread. The crumbs could float away. They would make a mess! They use tortillas instead.

What would happen if astronauts shook salt and pepper on their food? It would float away! It could get in their eyes. It could get into the computers. And, it might make them sneeze.

Salt and pepper bottles used in the ISS
Image to left: Space salt and pepper comes in bottles. Credit: NASA

So what do they do? They squirt salt and pepper out of a bottle. The salt is mixed with water. The pepper is in oil. They can add salt and pepper without it floating. Astronauts have things like ketchup, mustard and sauces in little packets.

Who cleans up when they are finished? Astronauts must throw their trash away. They don't want to be hit by a floating piece of candy.



Cartoon image of TV with arms, legs and a happy face Astronaut Food Videos
See astronauts play with their food. Watch an astronaut make a tortilla burger.
+ View video

 

Adapted from Space Food.


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Editor: Shelley Canright
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: September 20, 2004
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