What do astronauts eat in orbit?

12 Apr. 2022, 13:10

In 2022, we celebrate the 61st anniversary of the first human space flight in the world. It was like today in 1961 when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin said “Let’s go” and flew over Earth in the Vostok spacecraft.

Space flight conditions impose particular requirements both on the diet as a whole and on the products included in it and their manufacturing technology. The best scientists, technologists and engineers of our country worked in their creation and elaboration. The development of the space menu is carried out by NIPPiSPT, a branch of FGBUN “Federal Research Center for Nutrition, Biotechnology and Food Safety”.

Just imagine that every day a person on a spaceship needs about 5.5 kg of food, oxygen and water. Since the team consists of several astronauts and their flight can take a year, a special approach to catering is important.

More than 300 types of high quality specialty food products with a high degree of reliability and safety, with a long service life under specified transport and operating conditions, have been developed to feed astronauts. In addition, more were selected 100 industrial products.

What do astronauts eat?

Almost the same as ordinary people on Earth. IN THE menu includes Borodino bread, cheese, ham, mashed potatoes, cabbage soup and borscht, pork in sweet and sour sauce, perch, sturgeon, cottage cheese, strawberries, biscuits, chocolate, tea and coffee. Even in space they eat fresh fruits and vegetables, while maintaining the tastes of the national cuisine.

Russian cosmonauts prefer apples, tomatoes, onions and garlic. But the most favorite product of all astronauts is cottage cheese with nuts and cranberries. Recently, oatmeal has been included in the diet – with peaches and apples.

The hardest thing in space water – it is difficult to store in the right quantity. Therefore, spacecraft undergo a complete regeneration of water: even the waste is cleaned and converted back into liquid.

Nutrition to maintain health

High-calorie and high-protein foods containing animal proteins (meat, fish, liver, cottage cheese, eggs) and plant proteins (cereals and legumes) increase the body’s resistance to harmful environmental factors, while reducing radionuclide uptake. In addition, the proteins of fish, cottage cheese, cheese, legumes contain sulfur-containing amino acids (cystine, methionine), which have a radioprotective effect.

To increase the level of antioxidant protection in the body and reduce the number of damaged cells during ionizing radiation, it is recommended to include foods that contain antioxidants in the diet – for example, cabbage soup, vegetable puree soup, eggplant, oatmeal, rice vegetables and fruit juices with pulp.

There are also products that contain Vitamin E: hazelnuts, salted and sweet almonds and more. B vitamins are replenished by eating foods such as pea soup puree, wheat porridge with pumpkin, rice porridge with dried apricots, buckwheat porridge with milk, beans in tomato sauce, mushrooms, caterers.

To prevent possible adverse changes in metabolic processes in the body of astronauts, foods rich in fiber. These include eggplant caviar and squash, vitamin appetizer (sauerkraut with carrots and red pepper), beetroot salad with onions, beans in tomato sauce, fresh cabbage, borscht, cabbage soup, cabbage, bunou souba peas in milk sauce, jelly with apple pectin, dried apricot puree, apple dessert and much more.

They play an important role in the protective functions of the body. minerals: macronutrients (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chlorine, sulfur) contained in foodstuffs in relatively large quantities and micronutrients (iron, iodine, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, silicon), the concentration of which is . Macronutrients are able to block radioactive substances from entering the body. Calcium is an inhibitory element of radioactive strontium, along with phosphorus, it is the main component of bones and teeth. In addition, it participates in maintaining the osmotic balance of the internal environment of the body, in the activation of a series of enzymes and hormones.

To reduce the bone mineralization phenomena that are inevitable in long-term weight loss in astronauts, it is necessary to use calcium substances in food. According to the content and completeness of the assimilation, the best sources of calcium are the lyophilized products: milk and cottage cheese with gooseberry puree, cottage cheese with nuts, cottage cheese with sea buckthorn puree, dishes with legumes, yogurt, as well as nuts. bread products.

What are the requirements for “space” products

Given the nature of the effects and changes they cause in the human body, astronaut food should have radioprotective, anti-inflammatory properties, increase the body’s resistance to vestibular disorders, have a preventive effect on the digestive system and normalize functions of vital systems of the body, including the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Also important:

– minimum dimensions and weight.

– long shelf life of the product (at least 12 months).

– ease of food intake in conditions of weightlessness and low consumption for a long time.

– minimum cooking time and the possibility of using both hot and cold.

– good digestibility and high digestibility.

– microbiological safety throughout the storage period under space object conditions.

Special requirements apply to the packaging of products:

– must have a minimum mass.

– have a sufficient safety margin to maintain the integrity and tightness of the product when exposed to vibration, overload, temperature and pressure drops.

– must not emit toxic or odorous substances. – must be suitable for use as cooking and eating utensils.

In general, food on track is organized to a high standard, the menu is made taking into account all the needs of the body – for optimal maintenance of health and well-being of astronauts.

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