What It’s Like to Work in Space, Using Bulky EVA Gloves
Tightening a lug nut on the tire of your car in the driveway seems like an easy enough task, but imagine trying to do it while wearing incredibly bulky gloves and working in the vacuum of space. Still sound easy?
That is what a day’s work entails for astronauts working outside the International Space Station. A simple task that would otherwise take 5 minutes to complete on Earth can take hours in space.
I had the opportunity to experience a simulation of what it is like for astronauts working in space. I tested out an EVA (extravehicular activity) glove simulator operated by NASA’s Langley Research Center at “Star Trek”: Mission New York earlier this month. The EVA glove simulator challenged users to put the top on a plastic bottle and tighten it into place. [Weightlessness and Its Effect on Astronauts]
While this sounds like a task someone may complete a dozen times a day — opening a jar of peanut butter, taking the top off a milk carton or water bottle — it is a far different task to complete when working in the vacuum of space (which is a fancy way of saying low-pressure environment).
To begin the simulation, users were given soft gloves to put on before putting their hands in the EVA gloves, which were housed in a plastic box. Inside this box, there was a plastic bottle and top. The air inside the box was drawn out to mimic the low pressure of space and create a vacuum. Then, once a near-perfect vacuum was reached, users had to try to put the top on the bottle.
Although I was able to pick up both the bottle and the top and place the top on the bottle, I could not maneuver my hands well enough to screw the top down into place. Brandon Guethe, an exhibit tech for Space Technology Game Changing Development at the Langley Research Center in Virginia, explained why this task was so hard to complete.
“The biggest problem is that they [astronauts] lose the majority of their dexterity because of the vacuum in space,” Guethe said, adding that the gloves also have multiple layers that restrict an astronaut’s movement.
Guethe, who was operating the simulator at Mission New York, said that thousands of people had tried to complete the task at hand, but only eight were able to successfully screw the top onto the bottle. Guethe noted that firefighters, hazmat technicians and scuba divers who are used to working under extreme conditions while wearing bulky equipment are generally more successful at using the space glove simulator.
Another big problem with operating the gloves is that astronauts can’t tell how hard they are actually pulling on something or how hard they need to hold on to a tool when they are tightening a nut or bolt, Guethe said.
“This has actually caused a lot of damage to their hands just because they don’t have the circulation … and they don’t know how hard they are really grabbing something,” Guethe added.
A third major problem Guethe mentioned was the accumulation of moisture and bacteria in the astronauts’ gloves.
“They have a lot of problems with losing their fingernails, cuticle damage and fingernail fungus,” he said. When astronauts are outside the space station working, the vacuum of space pulls moisture through their skin, into the glove material, Guethe added.
NASA scientists are working to create a “High Performance EVA Glove” that will revolutionize current glove designs.
NASA says current EVA glove designs account for nearly 50 percent of spacesuit injuries reported in the past 18 years. The new EVA gloves, however, are designed to reduce potential injury and improve finger restraint and mobility, according to NASA. The gloves also will have lightweight, dust-tolerant bearings, which is important for deep-space missions, where astronauts may encounter more orbital dust and debris.
In addition, the new gloves will simulate the vibration of texture to give astronauts more dexterity, Guethe said. While astronauts may not be touching anything physically (because multiple layers of thick material separate their hands from the physical object), vibrations will send sensory signals to the astronauts’ brains, telling them they are holding something. The more they grab onto an object, the more certain sensors in the glove will vibrate.
Testing out the EVA gloves alone proved to be extremely difficult. Astronauts must not only overcome this challenge but also figure out how to work in an entire spacesuit made of the same thick, restrictive material.
“When they’re doing repairs [outside] the space station, it is actually much harder because it’s not just the gloves; their entire suit is stifling,” Guethe said. “They really don’t have that much mobility from the waist up.”
To overcome this challenge, astronauts plan and practice for EVAs (aka spacewalks) in a facility called the Neutral Buoyancy Lab — a large swimming pool at NASA’s Johnson Space Center that houses a replica of the space station. Astronauts train in this pool for up to 6 hours at a time, wearing their spacesuits.
So, do you have what it takes to be an astronaut?
Space X is serious about going to Mars. This is a presentation that you don’t want to miss.
As President and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and for managing all customer and strategic relations. She joined SpaceX in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and the company’s seventh employee. Since that time she has helped SpaceX secure over 100 missions to its manifest, representing over $12 billion in contracts.
In addition to building the Falcon vehicle family of launches, Shotwell is also driving efforts to fly people on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, send private passengers around the Moon, and land the first private spacecraft on Mars.
On Wednesday, October 11th, Shotwell will share SpaceX’s story on the road to Mars. After the talk, there will be a Q&A session hosted by Steve Jurvetson from DFJ Venture Capital.
Doors open at 6:30pm.
If you’d like to donate to SSI for hosting this event, please visit http://ssi.stanford.edu/give. Thanks!
HP & Mars Society Partnering on Mars Home Planet Initiative
Dr. Robert Zubrin to Talk at Inaugural HP Meetup Friday 7pm PDT
Hewlett Packard (HP) and the Mars Society are partnering to bring you the HP Mars Home Planet initiative, a program intended to conceive, plan and ultimately build a virtual colony on the Red Planet that the online public can experience in virtual reality (VR).
HP Mars Home Planet will allow participants to join the virtual mission by designing buildings, transportation, infrastructure, clothing and other related elements needed for a VR human presence on the Martian surface.
HP representatives have described the new effort as “a universe-changing design, architecture, engineering and virtual reality project for the imaginative problem-solvers and technology enthusiasts of tomorrow.”
Dr. Robert Zubrin, President & Founder of the Mars Society, will be one of the primary speakers during the inaugural HP Meetup on Friday, September 29th from 7:00-10:00 pm PDT, and will also serve as one of the judges for HP’s virtual program.
Other participants will include Ryan Holmes, Founder & CEO of SpaceVR, and Sean Young of HP, who will lay out the details of the project, including exactly what the program is looking for and requirements for submission. A panel of scientists and experts will also join the HP Meetup session to discuss plans for Mars exploration.
Those interested in attending the HP Mars Home Planet Meetup in person at HP headquarters (1501 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA) should register at: https://www.meetup.com/Mars-Home-Planet/events/242778501. If you would like to join Friday’s event via live streaming, please visit our web site (www.marssociety.org) or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheMarsSociety) prior to the scheduled Meetup.
The Mars Society is announcing the international student engineering contest to design a lander capable of delivering a ten metric ton payload safely to the surface of Mars. The competition is open to student teams from around the world. Participants are free to choose any technology to accomplish the proposed mission and need to submit design reports of no more than 50 pages by March 31, 2018.
These contest reports will be evaluated by a panel of judges and will serve as the basis for a down-select to ten finalists who will be invited to present their work in person at the next International Mars Society Convention in September 2018. The first place winning team will receive a trophy and a $10,000 cash prize. Second through fifth place winners will receive trophies and prizes of $5,000, 3,000, $2000, and $1,000 respectively. In honor of the first craft used to deliver astronauts to another world, the contest is being named “Red Eagle.”
The key missing capability required to send human expeditions to Mars is the ability to land large payloads on the Red Planet. The largest capacity demonstrated landing system is that used by Curiosity, which delivered 1 ton. That is not enough to support human expeditions, whose minimal requirement is a ten ton landing capacity. NASA has identified this as a key obstacle to human missions to Mars, but has no program to develop any such lander. SpaceX had a program, called Red Dragon, which might have created a comparable capability, but it was cancelled when NASA showed no interest in using such a system to soft land crews returning to Earth from the ISS or other near-term missions.
In the absence of such a capability, NASA has been reduced to proposing irrelevant projects, such as building a space station in lunar orbit (not needed for either lunar or Mars expeditions), or claim that it is working on the technology for large visionary interplanetary spaceships which will someday sail from lunar orbit to Mars orbit and back, accomplishing nothing.
For full details about the Red Eagle student engineering contest, including team rules, guidelines and requirements, please click here.
The Case for Mars
The Barboza Space Center will introduce the book, “The Case for Mars.” This will be part of our new Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Fellowship Program. The book will be used to create space mathematics story problems. And to help with the building of robots, science experiments and the designing of Martin habitats.
Arthur C. Clarke
|LC CLASS||QB641.Z83 1996|
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must is a nonfiction science book by Robert Zubrin, first published in 1996, and revised and updated in 2011.
The book details Zubrin’s Mars Direct plan to make the first human landing on Mars. The plan focuses on keeping costs down by making use of automated systems and available materials on Mars to manufacture the return journey’s fuel in situ. The book also reveals possible Mars colony designs and weighs the prospects for a colony’s material self-sufficiency and for the terraforming of Mars.
The Mars Direct plan was originally detailed by Zubrin and David Baker in 1990. The Case for Mars is, according to Zubrin, a comprehensive condensation for laymen of many years’ work and research. Chapters one and four deal with Mars Direct most completely.
For Robert Zubrin, the attractiveness of Mars Direct does not rest on a single cost-effective mission. He envisions a series of regular Martian missions with the ultimate goal of colonization, which he details in the seventh through ninth chapters. As initial explorers leave hab-structures on the planet, subsequent missions become easier to undertake.
Large subsurface, pressurized habitats would be the first step toward human settlement; the book suggests they can be built as Roman-style atria underground with easily produced Martian brick. During and after this initial phase of habitat construction, hard-plastic radiation– and abrasion-resistant geodesic domes could be deployed on the surface for eventual habitation and crop growth. Nascent industry would begin using indigenous resources: the manufacture of plastics, ceramics and glass.
The larger work of terraforming requires an initial phase of global warming to release atmosphere from the regolith and to create a water-cycle. Three methods of global warming are described in the work and, Zubrin suggests, are probably best deployed in tandem: orbital mirrors to heat the surface; factories on the surface to pump halocarbons into the atmosphere; and the seeding of bacteria which can metabolize water, nitrogen and carbonto produce ammonia and methane (these would aid in global warming). While the work of warming Mars is on-going, true colonization can begin.
The Case for Mars acknowledges that any Martian colony will be partially Earth-dependent for centuries. However, it suggests that Mars may be a profitable place for two reasons. First, it may contain concentrated supplies of metals of equal or greater value to silver which have not been subjected to millennia of human scavenging and may be sold on Earth for profit. Secondly, the concentration of deuterium – a possible fuel for commercial nuclear fusion – is five times greater on Mars. Humans emigrating to Mars thus have an assured industry and the planet will be a magnet for settlers as wage costs will be high. The book asserts that “the labor shortage that will prevail on Mars will drive Martian civilization toward both technological and social advances.”
While detailing the exploration and colonization, The Case for Mars also addresses a number of attendant scientific and political factors.
The fifth chapter analyzes various risks that putatively rule out a long-term human presence on Mars. Zubrin dismisses the idea that radiation and zero-gravity are unduly hazardous. He claims that cancer rates do increase for astronauts who have spent extensive time in space, but only marginally. Similarly, while zero-gravity presents challenges, “near total recovery of musculature and immune system occurs after reentry and reconditioning to a one-gravity environment.” Furthermore, since his plan has the spacecraft spinning at the end of a long tether to create artificial gravity, worries about zero gravity do not apply to this mission in any case. Back-contamination – humans acquiring and spreading Martian viruses – is described as “just plain nuts”, because there are no host organisms on Mars for disease organisms to have evolved.
In the same chapter, Zubrin decisively denounces and rejects suggestions that the Moonshould be used as waypoint to Mars or as a training area. It is ultimately much easier to journey to Mars from low Earth orbit than from the moon and using the latter as a staging point is a pointless diversion of resources. While the Moon may superficially appear a good place to perfect Mars exploration and habitation techniques, the two bodies are radically different. The moon has no atmosphere, no analogous geology and a much greater temperature range and rotational period. Antarctica or desert areas of Earth provide much better training grounds at lesser cost.
In the third and tenth chapters, The Case for Mars addresses the politics and costs of the ideas described. The authors argue that the colonization of Mars is a logical extension of the settlement of North America. They envision a frontier society, providing opportunities for innovation and social experimentation.
Zubrin suggests three models to provide the will and capital to drive Mars exploration forward: the J.F.K. model, in which a far-sighted U.S. leader provides the funding and mobilizes national public opinion around the idea; the Sagan model, in which international co-operation is the driving force; and the Gingrich approach, which emphasizes incentives and even prizes for private sector actors who take on research and development tasks. In keeping with the third idea, Zubrin describes twelve challenges that address various aspects of the exploration program. A monetary prize – from five hundred million to twenty billion dollars – is offered to companies who successfully complete the challenges.
The prize-based approach to hardware development has emerged within the private aeronautics community, though not yet on the scale envisioned by Zubrin. Ventures such as the Ansari X-Prize and Robert Bigelow’s America’s Space Prize seek low-cost spaceflight development through private enterprise, and crucially, for the attainment of very specific predetermined goals in order to win the prizes.
The underlying political and economic problems of raising sufficient capital for terraforming using halocarbon emissions is critiqued by John Hickman.
- Mars Society
- Colonization of Mars
- Manned mission to Mars
- Mars exploration
- Mars One
- Mars to Stay
- Inspiration Mars
- List of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century
- The Millennial Project by space advocate Marshall Savage
- Mining the Sky by space advocate John S. Lewis
- Engines of Creation by nanotechnologist and space advocate K. Eric Drexler
- The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space by space advocate Gerard O’Neill
- The case for Mars : the plan to settle the red planet and why we must. Publishers Weekly. October 2, 1996.
- “NSS Review: The Case for Mars”. National Space Society. April 24, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
- “Is Settling Mars Inevitable, Or An Impossibility?”. NPR. July 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31,2016.
- Mars Direct
- Spaceviews book review
- For a critical review see: Papercuts Issue Forty-Six, November 2001
- For a view which concentrates on the financing of such a venture, see: Journal of Evolution and Technology
- Mars Society web site
- Italian Mars Society web site
- The Case for Mars on Open Library at the Internet Archive
Students in the USA are getting ready to collaborate with high school students in France and other countries. They are on a mission to come up with a better way to grow food on Mars. First, we must do a good job growing food here on Earth. California high school students are working on special robots that will help us to grow food.
We are stilling looking for high school teachers and students to join our team.
Contact us: Suprschool@aol.com
Space food is a type of food product created and processed for consumption by astronauts in outer space. The food has specific requirements of providing balanced nutrition for individuals working in space, while being easy and safe to store, prepare and consume in the machinery-filled weightless environments of manned spacecraft. In recent years, space food has been used by various nations engaging on space programs as a way to share and show off their cultural identity and facilitate intercultural communication. Although astronauts consume a wide variety of foods and beverages in space, the initial idea from The Man in Space Committee of the Space Science Board was to supply astronauts with a formula diet that would supply all the needed vitamins and nutrients.
For lunch on Vostok I (1961) Yuri Gagarin ate three 160 g toothpaste-type tubes, two of which contained servings of puréed meat and one which contained chocolate sauce.
In August 1961, Soviet Cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the first human to experience space sickness on Vostok II; he holds the record for being the first person to vomit in space. According to Lane and Feeback, this event “heralded the need for space flight nutrition.”
One of John Glenn‘s many tasks, as the first American to orbit Earth in 1962, was to experiment with eating in weightless conditions. Some experts had been concerned that weightlessness would impair swallowing. Glenn experienced no difficulties and it was determined that microgravity did not affect the natural swallowing process, which is enabled by the peristalsis of the esophagus.
Astronauts in later Mercury missions (1959–1963) disliked the food that was provided. They ate bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders, and tubes of semiliquids. The astronauts found it unappetizing, experienced difficulties in rehydrating the freeze-dried foods, and did not like having to squeeze tubes or collect crumbs. Prior to the mission, the astronauts were also fed low residual launch-day breakfasts, to reduce the chances that they would defecate in flight.
Project Gemini and Apollo (1965–1975)
Several of the food issues from the Mercury missions were addressed for the later Gemini missions (1965–1966). Tubes (often heavier than the foods they contained) were abandoned. Gelatin coatings helped to prevent bite-sized cubes from crumbling. Simpler rehydration methods were developed. The menus also expanded to include items such as shrimp cocktail, chicken and vegetables, toast squares, butterscotch pudding, and apple juice.
The crew of Gemini III snuck a corned beef sandwich on their spaceflight. Mission Commander Gus Grissom loved corned beef sandwiches, so Pilot John Young brought one along, having been encouraged by fellow astronaut Walter Schirra. However, Young was supposed to eat only approved food, and Grissom was not supposed to eat anything. Floating pieces of bread posed a potential problem, causing Grissom to put the sandwich away (although he did enjoy it) and the astronauts were mildly rebuked by NASA for the act. A congressional hearing was called, forcing the NASA deputy administrator George Mueller to promise no repeats. NASA took special care about what astronauts brought along on future missions.
Prior to the Apollo program (1968–1975), early space food development was conducted at the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Natick Army Labs. The variety of food options continued to expand for the Apollo missions. The new availability of hot water made rehydrating freeze-dried foods simpler, and produced a more appetizing result. The “spoon-bowl” allowed more normal eating practices. Food could be kept in special plastic zip-closure containers, and its moisture allowed it to stick to a spoon.
Larger living areas on the Skylab space station (1973–1974) allowed for an on-board refrigerator and freezer, which allowed perishable and frozen items to be stored and made microgravity the primary obstacle.:142–144 When Skylab’s solar panels were damaged during its launch and the station had to rely on minimal power from the Apollo Telescope Mount until Skylab 2 crewmembers performed repairs, the refrigerator and freezer were among the systems that Mission Control kept operational.
Menus included 72 items; for the first time about 15% was frozen. Shrimp cocktail and butter cookies were consistent favorites; Lobster Newburg, fresh bread, processed meat products, and ice cream were among other choices. A dining room table and chairs, fastened to the floor and fitted with foot and thigh restraints, allowed for a more normal eating experience. The trays used could warm the food, and had magnets to hold eating utensils and scissors used for opening food containers.:142–144:29 The food was similar to that used for Apollo, but canned for preservation; the crew found it to be better than that of Apollo but still unsatisfying, partially due to food tasting different in space than on Earth.:292–293,308 The frozen foods were the most popular, and they enjoyed spicy foods:130 due to head congestion from weightlessness dulling their senses of taste and smell.:292–293,308 Weightlessness also complicated both eating and cleaning up; crews spent up to 90 minutes a day on housekeeping.
After astronaut requests, NASA bought Paul Masson Rare Cream Sherry for one Skylab mission and packaged some for testing on a reduced gravity aircraft. In microgravity smells quickly permeate the environment and the agency found that the sherry triggered the gag reflex. Concern over public reaction to taking alcohol into space led NASA to abandon its plans, so astronauts drank the purchased supply while consuming their pre-mission special diet.
The astronauts of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1975) received samples of Soviet space food when the combined crew dined together. Among the foods provided by Soyuz 19 were canned beef tongue, packaged Riga bread, and tubes of borscht (beet soup) and caviar. The borscht was labeled “vodka“.
As part of the Interkosmos space program, allies of the Soviet Union have actively participated in the research and deployment of space technologies. The Institute of Cryobiology and Lyophilization (now the Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technology), founded in 1973 as a part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, has since produced space food for the purposes of the program. The menu includes traditional Bulgarian dishes such as tarator, sarma, musaka, lyutenitza, kiselo mlyako, dried vegetables and fruits, etc.
Today, fruits and vegetables that can be safely stored at room temperature are eaten on space flights. Astronauts also have a greater variety of main courses to choose from, and many request personalized menus from lists of available foods including items like fruit salad and spaghetti. Astronauts sometimes request beef jerky for flights, as it is lightweight, calorie dense, and can be consumed in orbit without packaging or other changes.
- Chinese: In October 2003, the People’s Republic of China commenced their first manned space flight. The astronaut, Yang Liwei, brought along with him and ate specially processed yuxiang pork (simp: 鱼香肉丝; trad: 魚香肉絲), Kung Pao chicken (simp: 宫保鸡丁; trad: 宮保雞丁), and Eight Treasures rice (simp: 八宝饭; trad: 八寶飯), along with Chinese herbal tea. Food made for this flight and the subsequent manned flight in 2007 has been commercialized for sale to the mass market.
- Italian: Commercial firms Lavazza and Argotec developed an espresso machine, called ISSpresso, for the International Space Station. It can also brew other hot drinks, such as tea, hot chocolate, and broth. On 3 May 2015, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti became the first person to drink freshly brewed coffee in space. While the device serves as a quality-of-life improvement aboard the station, it is also an experiment in fluid dynamics in space. The brewing machine and drinking cups were specially designed to work with fluids in low gravity.
- Japanese: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have developed traditional Japanese foods and drinks such as matcha, yokan, ramen, sushi, soups, rice with ume for consumption in orbit. The foods have been produced in collaboration with Japanese food companies such as Ajinomoto, Meiji Dairies, and Nissin Foods.
- Korean: In April 2008, South Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So-yeon, was a crew member on the International Space Station and brought a modified version of Korea’s national dish, kimchi. It took three research institutes several years and over one million dollars in funding to create a version of the fermented cabbage dish that was suitable for space travel.
- Russian: On the ISS the Russian crew has a selection of over 300 dishes. An example daily menu can be:
- Breakfast: curds and nuts, mashed potatoes with nuts, apple-quince chip sticks, sugarless coffee and vitamins.
- Lunch: jellied pike perch, borsch with meat, goulash with buckwheat, bread, black currant juice, sugarless tea.
- Supper: rice and meat, broccoli and cheese, nuts, tea with sugar.
- Second supper: dried beef, cashew nuts, peaches, grape juice.
- Swedish: Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang was not allowed to bring reindeer jerky with him on board a shuttle mission as it was “weird” for the Americans so soon before Christmas. He had to go with moose instead.
NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Project (AFT) is currently researching ways to ensure an adequate food supply for long-duration space exploration missions.
Designing food for consumption in space is an often difficult process. Foods must meet a number of criteria to be considered fit for space. Firstly, the food must be physiologically appropriate. Specifically, it must be nutritious, easily digestible, and palatable. Secondly, the food must be engineered for consumption in a zero gravity environment. As such, the food must be light, well packaged, fast to serve and require minimal cleaning up. (Foods that tend to leave crumbs, for example, are ill-suited for space.) Finally, foods require a minimum of energy expenditure throughout their use; they must store well, open easily and leave little waste behind.
Carbonated drinks have been tried in space, but are not favored due to changes in belching caused by microgravity; without gravity to separate the liquid and gas in the stomach, burping results in a kind of vomiting called “wet burping”. Coca-Cola and Pepsi were first carried on STS-51-F in 1985. Coca-Cola has flown on subsequent missions in a specially designed dispenser that utilizes BioServe Space Technologies hardware used for biochemical experiments. Space Station Mir carried cans of Pepsi in 1996.
Beer has also been developed that counteracts the reduction of taste and smell reception in space and reduces the possibility of wet belches (vomiting caused by belching) in microgravity. Produced by Vostok 4-Pines Stout, a parabolic flight experiment validated that the reduced carbonation recipe met the criteria intended for space. Barley harvested from crops grown for several generations in space has also been brought back to Earth to produce beer. While not a space food (it used the same high carbonation ‘Earth’ recipe), the study did demonstrate that ingredients grown in space are safe for production.
Packaging for space food serves the primary purposes of preserving and containing the food. The packaging, however, must also be light-weight, easy to dispose and useful in the preparation of the food for consumption. The packaging also includes a bar-coded label, which allows for the tracking of an astronaut’s diet. The labels also specify the food’s preparation instructions in both English and Russian.
Many foods from the Russian space program are packaged in cans and tins. These are heated through electro-resistive (ohmic) methods, opened with a can-opener, and the food inside consumed directly. Russian soups are hydrated and consumed directly from their packages.
NASA space foods are packaged in retort pouches or employ freeze drying. They are also packaged in sealed containers which fit into trays to keep them in place. The trays include straps on the underside, allowing astronauts to attach the tray to an anchor point such as their legs or a wall surface and include clips for retaining a beverage pouch or utensils in the microgravity environment.
- Beverages (B) – Freeze dried drink mixes (coffee or tea) or flavored drinks (lemonade or orange drink) are provided in vacuum sealed beverage pouches. Coffee and tea may have powdered cream and/or sugar added depending on personal taste preferences. Empty beverage pouches are provided for drinking water.
- Fresh Foods (FF)– Fresh fruit, vegetables and tortillas delivered by resupply missions. These foods spoil quickly and need to be eaten within the first two days of flight to prevent spoilage. These foods are provided as psychological support.
- Irradiated (I) Meat – Beef steak that is sterilized with ionizing radiation to keep the food from spoiling. NASA has dispensation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use this type of food sterilization.
- Intermediate Moisture (IM) – Foods that have some moisture but not enough to cause immediate spoilage.
- Natural Form (NF) – Commercially available, shelf-stable foods such as nuts, cookies and granola bars that are ready to eat.
- Rehydratable (R) Foods – Foods that have been dehydrated by various technologies (such as drying with heat, osmotic drying and freeze drying) and allowed to rehydrate in hot water prior to consumption. Reducing the water content reduces the ability of microorganisms to thrive.
- Thermostabilized (T) – Also known as the retort process. This process heats foods to destroy pathogens, microorganisms and enzymes that may cause spoilage.
- Extended shelf-life bread products – Scones, waffles and rolls specially formulated to have a shelf life of up to 18 months.
More common staples and condiments do not have a classification and are known simply by the item name: