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Vickie Kloeris

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Everything posted by Vickie Kloeris

  1. First and foremost, refrigerators and freezers for food. The nutritional quality, variety and acceptability of our food system could be increased significantly if we had refrigeration/freezing available. Beyond that, if we decide to grow foods in a colony on the moon or Mars we would need a lot of food processing equipment and cooking equipment that we don't have. We really don't do any cooking currently...just add water and/or reheat. For the journey to Mars you probably would want to add at least some recreational cooking...like baking cookies or some such...for morale purposes. Psychology of foods will be really important, especially if the trip is 6 months each way as is currently forecast.
  2. I don't have the exact equations handy. I would have to check with my dietitian who does that actual calculation, but they are very much like the ones you show here. It seems like the one we use also has a provision for a low, medium or high activity factor and we use the medium activity factor. Another very similar equation is the Harris-Benedict Equation which you can find on-line and will basically give you the same end value. There are several equations/methods out there for calculating caloric requirements, but they will all give you fairly similar bottom lines.
  3. The overall food system is procured, packaged (when needed), labeled, stowed, shipped etc by NASA and it's contractors. However, individual items within the food system are procured from outside vendors. As I mentioned, we use a large percentage of commercially available food items that are repackaged for space flight. In the case of the thermostabilized food items, our facilities do not include a retort required for the production of these items. Therefore, we go to outside vendors to have these items made. There are several in the U.S. who can produce these items, and we might use different ones at different times.
  4. Thanks for the well wishes. We are very excited about the success of our colleagues at JPL. We do not advocate a low/no carb diet for our crewmembers, since that is not a healthy long term diet. In 1998, when we begin formulating custom thermostabilized items to add to the food list for ISS, we took into account some of the changes in dietary habits as well as some of the potential requests for foods from our future International Partner crewmembers. For instance, we have 3 thermostabilized food items that are tofu based. Nothing like that existed in the U.S. space food system.
  5. Food is such a personal preference item that it depends upon the crewmember as to what foods they crave during a mission. It also depends upon the duration of a mission. Shuttle crewmembers who are gone for only two weeks don't have near as many, or as strong cravings, as ISS crewmembers who are gone for 4 - 6 months. Fresh salads are often reported as being missed. Also pizza and beer as you might imagine. It varies widely. When our crewmembers return on the Shuttle and land in the U.S., they often make specific requests for their first meal back. However, many find that they do not feel well enough to eat a large meal right after landing. It takes the body a little while to re-acclimate to earth normal gravity. I have no idea what the crewmembers eat when they return from ISS on the Soyuz and land in Russia. That's handled by the Russians.
  6. The menus are set up for each crewmember based on their specific requests from the lists of available food items. We have the nutritional information for all the food items in a data base. After the crewmember chooses their menu, we analyze that menu and give them feedback on the nutritional content of their menu, including calories. The number of calories required for each crewmember is determined from a World Health Organization equation. The number calculated from that equation is the target number of calories used in planning the menu. The menu does not have to contain exactly that number of calories. We just want it to be within a reasonable quantity of that value. Yes, small women get less food than large men because they choose less food.
  7. We actually mix the mango and orange tang to create our Orange-Mango drink.
  8. They do actually have a wet-dry vac on the Shuttle that they use to clean the air filters and pick up water leaks, if they occur. Special request items cover a broad gambit, but things like candy, cookies, crackers appear on the list quite often. Of course, everyone has there own particular brand they want to fly. We also include cultural items from other countries as part of the fresh food, if a crewmember from another country requests them. I'm not sure what you mean by changes in eating habits. If you mean are there permanent changes in eating habits, the answer is no. Crewmembers acclimate to eating in orbit and this may include changing some of their dietary habits, but those changes are definitely not permanent.
  9. Not really. Any materials that are used in significant quantities on board a spacecraft have to be tested and approved. Therefore, it is easier for us to repackage products like nuts, cookies, crackers, etc into a standard package rather than going to the expense of testing all the different manufacturer's packaging materials...and then having to retest them when the manufacturer changes them.
  10. Caloric requirements are determined from a World Health Organization equation and are calculated for each crewmember. The calculation serves as a target number for menu planning. No, we do not set a calorie to package ratio. Rehydratable products are heated by injecting hot water into them. The water is heated prior to dispense from the galley on the Shuttle and the rehydration station on the ISS. Thermostabilized products are heated in the Shuttle galley oven or in a suitcase food warmer on the ISS. In addition to adding water to food and beverages, the rehydration stations can be used to add water to packages used in experiments, although this is rare and the experiment package would have to interface with the galley. Mainly they are used soley to put water in food and beverges. There is more overhead to eating in microgravity. Beverages are contained by the straw and thus should not get out into the cabin. Water added to food should be absorbed by the food prior to opening the package, but occasionally bits of food/liquid do get away. Crewmembers usually keep a towel hand to catch the strays.
  11. Menus for flights are posted to the web prior to/during each mission. We do not post specific nutritional analysis of the menus. Since many of the foods we use are commercially available, the info for those products is out there. The website for space food is http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/living/spacefood/index.html. You can link back from this website to Shuttle and ISS and find the crew menus. The menus for Expedition 8 are currently posted.
  12. Not quite, but close. Certainly a lot closer than Tang or its relatives. The spray-dried juices are difficult for us to work with because they are so hygroscopic. It makes them more difficult to rehydrate than the Tangs and Kool-Aids.
  13. No physical disasters with food. We did, however, have a crew that was careless with the residual drops of beverage left in the beverage straws. Apparently they stained the front of some of the mid-deck lockers with tropical punch which didn't make the orbiter processing folks too happy. We have had products that have been less successful than others. There has never been a product that everyone hated. As I think I mentioned in one of the other responses, if there is a product that some astronaut says he/she hates, you can bet another astronaut will say it's there favorite. During my tenure we have eliminated graham crackers from the permanent menu...just too many crumbs. We also developed a custom thermostabilized fish product using a tomato based sauce thinking that the sauce would help reduce the fishy odor. Wrong....apparently the chemisty of the tomato sauce made it worse. We don't plan on making another lot of that product.
  14. Food preparation consists of only two things...adding water to a product and or heating a product. It all depends on the product whether water needs to be added or it needs to be heated. Since you mentioned shrimp cocktail, I will use that as an example. The shrimp cocktail is a freeze-dried product. It is packaged in a package that includes a septum which serves as a one way valve to allow water to be injected into the package via a needle either on the Shuttle rehydration station or the ISS rehydration station. In the case of the shrimp cocktail, cold water would be dispensed into the package, the crewmember would manipulate the package to "stir" the water and the shrimp/sauce together, and then the food would sit and rehydrate. The label on the package tells the crewmember how much water to add, what temp water to add (cold or hot) and about how long they will have to allow the product to rehydrate prior to consumption. Once the product is rehydrated, the crewmember cuts the package open with the scissors in their utensil kit and eats out of the package with a fork or a spoon. One crewmember may prepare food for all or they may each prepare their own food. It's their option.
  15. Our food is not sterile, so it is not microbe free. We process our food using procedures to assure that no pathogenic bacteria are present. There are still spoilage bacteria present in the food and we use various methods to keep those under control. For instance, freeze-dried foods have had so much moisture removed that they will not support growth of the spoilage bacteria that may be present in the food. However, once a crewmember rehydrates a freeze-dried item, it can grow bacteria since there is no refrigertor on orbit for "left-overs". Thus, they must eat a product right away after rehydration or discard it. No know instance of food bourne illness on orbit. Can't guarantee about indigestion though! No pizza dough has been tossed in space. In fact, no food preparation of that type at all. Too messy in microgravity.
  16. Solid human waste is returned on the Shuttle. Urine is returned to earth also, but when the holding tanks get full during a mission, some might be dumped overboard. I don't work is this area, so I don't have all the info, but I believe that the human waste from ISS is put with the other trash in the Progress and jettisoned to burn up on entry into earth's atmosphere.
  17. Historically, Pillsbury was a major part of the development of early space food. The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system for food safety was created by the original space food team which included Pillsbury, Natick Labs (R&D for military) and NASA. Although the HACCP system was not used commercially for many years after it's creation, it is now the gold standard in the food industry and in food service operations for food safety. Currently, NASA Headquarters has established a food technology commercial space center at Iowa State University that is designed to bring food industry and academia to work on food technology research that has applications to commercial as well as NASA. They are separate from NASA. You can visit there website.....http://www.ag.iastate.edu/centers/ftcsc/...to learn more about them. and the companies that are involved with the center.
  18. Yes, we do have a lot of preservatives in our food system, but as you state...circumstances necessitate it.
  19. Not sure about the space pens...not my department. Cheetos would be a mess. In general chips don't work well. Some crewmembers have chosen to take the Pringles as part of their fresh/special request food since they are in a can and can withstand more than a bag of chips. However, they still make a lot of crumbs and the crewmember has to be willing to put up with that and likely will be forced by fellow crewmembers to clean up the mess they leave behind.
  20. We are currently required by the Shuttle program to provide two extra days of food on each Shuttle flight in the event of extension of the mission. We have had missions extend for as much as 3 days and they still come home with food. FYI: We actually use very few of the MRE items. Most of our thermostabilized pouched items (MRE technology) are custom made to our formulations. Since we are making small batches compared to the military, we have the advantage of being able to use more expensive ingredients and more labor intensive preparation procedures for the products prior to thermostabilization. The result...our thermostabilized pouched products taste a lot better than the typical MRE.
  21. We actually do use all those methods of perservation in at least some of our products. We have dried beef, cured ham and smoked turkey. It's just that we use modern (and I might add safer) methods of achieving those results, rather than the primative means.
  22. Actually we do now fly a spray-dried orange juice that is a true juice, so it is also an option for crewmembers to choose.
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