Samantha Cristoforetti was the first Italian woman to go to space, but more importantly to some astronauts, on May 3 of this year was also the first astronaut in history to drink Lavazza Italian espresso while in orbit on the International Space Station (ISS).
Dubbed the ISSpresso, the new coffee machine was a collaborative effort between Lavazza (the “nectar-of-the-gods” coffee as far as I’m concerned—-I’m addicted to Italian coffee) and Argotec, an Italian engineering and software company.
Do not take this achievement lightly because this is actually an important scientific achievement that will better enable scientists and engineers understand the principles of fluid dynamics and microgravity conditions in space.
The espresso machine-in-space design also set a record for the shortest development time of a space project taking only about 18 months. This is much faster than the average for space projects. The machine is far more complex than such a machine as we have in our kitchen and it weighs about 25 kilograms due to all the redundancies needed in the critical components as required to meet strict safety requirements of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA.
The innovative capsule design enables the proper cup of good espresso but also any other hot beverages including broth to rehydrate the space food. The technological lessons learned in the machine development will be useful both for new experiments on future space missions and immediate earth applications.
If astronauts are expected to travel from Earth to Mars in the Orion spacecraft on a nine month journey, they had better have good coffee on board because they will not be in a state of suspended animation and will need coffee to stay awake to perform their duties while to and from as well as on Mars in the 2030s which is a mission that can last two years! I can’t go without coffee for a few days no less be deprived of it for two years! I am sure some astronauts will agree with me.
Just remember, as one astronaut told me, In space, tonight’s urine is tomorrow morning’s coffee . Drink up.
Please share your thoughts and comments regarding this achievement with our Planet Analog audience.