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Space Dining Experience


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Can you please describe the space prep and dining experience? The shrimp cocktail for example - how's it packaged? How's it prepared? Who prepares the food? How so? What's it like when they actually eat? How long do they have to eat? Thank you so much for this fascinating insight - high on the hedonic scale.

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Thank you so much for these fascinating insights - high on the hedonic scale.

i must take a moment to agree with loufood--

this Q+A is *fascinating*. (umm, and high on the hedonic scale...) :biggrin:

thanks, Vickie!

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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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.

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Also, please pardon me if this has already been addressed, but in an environment with no gravity, is it hard for the astronauts to prevent liquids from getting out of those bags and splashing a surface on any side of the spacecraft?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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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.

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