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Eat like an astronaut: What’s for dinner on the International Space Station

You can still drink coffee in space

Food Technician Al Russ, left, and Food Scientist Steve French, right, show a finished packet of freeze-dried shrimp fried rice in NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003. The lab is where the American half of the food for the International Space Station is prepared. (AP Photo/Michael Stravato)
Food Technician Al Russ, left, and Food Scientist Steve French, right, show a finished packet of freeze-dried shrimp fried rice in NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003. The lab is where the American half of the food for the International Space Station is prepared. (AP Photo/Michael Stravato) (AP2003)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to eat like an astronaut living and working in space?

Three American astronauts and one Japanese astronaut will liftoff in SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on Saturday from Kennedy Space Center. The crew will spend six months living on the orbiting laboratory which means a lot of mealtimes in low-gravity.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has posted a guide to eating in space, including the types of food forms available.

Astronauts have eight different kinds of space food:

  • thermostabilized food
  • rehydratable food
  • intermediate moisture food
  • natural form food
  • irradiated food
  • frozen food
  • fresh food
  • refrigerated food

Two-hundred miles above Earth, gravity is extremely low. To prevent anything from floating away utensils are secured to magnets on food trays.

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Food is also securely packaged to prevent food from floating around the station.

Another reason for careful packing is to avoid any crumbs. NASA officials said liquids and crumbs could damage equipment on the ISS.

The list below shows a standard menu for the International Space Station.

The image below shows a standard menu for the International Space Station.
The image below shows a standard menu for the International Space Station. (NASA)

One breakfast includes eggs, bacon, toast and coffee.

A lunch option includes fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn, peaches and almonds.

A Thanksgiving-style dinner for astronauts lists turkey, mashed sweet potato, asparagus and pumpkin. Astronauts do celebrate the holidays with special meals. Those meals just come in pouches instead of on plates.

If an astronaut wants some extra seasonings, salt and pepper come in liquid form, according to NASA.

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