Back in 2015 something great happened. The first coffee that was literally out of this world was brewed on the International Space Station. Samantha Cristoforetti is an astronaut, the first Italian woman to have gone to the ISS, and the first person to drink the zero-gravity brewed espresso. The idea behind creating the ISSpresso was to find out how hot fluids under high pressures reacted in such an environment. The results have been and will be used in further research, including research related to life on Mars.
In normal conditions, an espresso machine runs nearly boiling water and steam, at a high pressure, through a compacted mass of finely-ground coffee. During the ‘70s, the invention of the coffee capsule revolutionized the way in which people brewed espresso, and made this drink more available. People who did not have the necessary equipment or the knowledge of how to use them could now brew a delicious cup of espresso with the push of a button.
The design and functionality of ISSpresso are mostly based on the commercial machine model, but adjusted to meet the requirements of ISS. There were different thermal conditions to be considered as well, such as hot air not rising because of the lack of gravity. The thermal, gas, light, and electromagnetic emissions had to be limited as well.
After successfully arriving on the ISS, the machine was tested and the first cup of zero-gravity espresso was brewed. Astronauts enjoy their drink from a pouch, using a straw. This innovation is a great help for the team, as they are now able to enjoy a more diverse menu, not only higher-quality coffee. The machine brews tea, consommé, and it is also useful for preparing their food. For example, plain rice can be made delicious by boiling it in chicken broth. The psychological boost astronauts get, along with the extra nutritional benefits, makes ISSpresso a success and a necessity for every future expedition.
Coffee goes great with everything. It is what fuels great discoveries, amazing artworks, and our day to day lives. If you are a coffee lover, join us on Goffee, where everything is about coffee!