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BBC – Future – Apollo in 50 numbers: Food



170: Weight of astronaut-consumed breakfast steaks in grams

Every NASA astronaut since Alan Shepard in 1961 has received a hearty breakfast before take-off. All pre-flight Apollo meals have been formulated specifically for diet, calories and, most importantly, what doctors call "low residue". In other words, low-fiber meals where astronauts do not have to rush to the bathroom after taking off.

Due to their diuretic properties, early use also limited the amount of coffee used before the start. Shepard's Mercury flight, for example, lasted only 15 minutes, so doctors thought he could avoid urinating. Unfortunately, they could not consider delays in the countdown.

"They put Alan Shepard on his rocket without getting a leak," says reporter Jay Barbree, who commented on the mission of US television NBC. "After two hours, he starts to complain and desperately asks for permission to wet his suit ̵

1; after all, they gave him permission." The astronaut is relieved, but the medical sensors are crazy – like condoms – attached to a disposal system that dumped garbage from a port on the side of the spacecraft.

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Solid waste in plastic bags and most astronauts tried not to use the toilet for as long as possible. The first to make a jump during Apollo 7 was Walt Cunningham.

"It was difficult to get everything working properly," he tells me. "You can catch everything, but then you've got a few pills out of the bag and spend your time mixing the pills with what you had there – it was not much fun."

2.800: Daily Calorie Consumption

The first American to eat in space was John Glenn. During his five-hour flight, he tested a tube – a bit like a toothpaste tube – with applesauce to prove that people in weightlessness can swallow and digest food.

For the Two-Man Twins Missions Mid-1960s The astronauts were allocated 2,500 calories daily and they consumed plastic packages of freeze-dried foods made by Whirlpool Corporation (the home appliance manufacturer). In freeze-drying, the food was boiled, quickly frozen, and then slowly heated in a vacuum chamber to remove the ice crystals resulting from freezing.

The astronauts splashed water through a nozzle to rehydrate the food and kneaded the resulting paste into a kind of sloop. The meals were tastier than the tube food on Mercury and contained delicacies like beef and gravy, but the water was cold, which often made them unappetizing.

During the first Gemini mission – Gemini 3 in 1965 – John Young created a small scandal and the only flaw in his exemplary astronaut career by smuggling a corned beef sandwich on board. What started as a joke threatened to cause a serious problem with the spacecraft, with the fear that crumbs could disrupt the spacecraft's circuitry.

Not only was the food tastier, but the water pistol delivered from the spacecraft's fuel cells was hot as well as cold

During the Apollo missions – when the astronauts were limited in movement in the capsule and moving on the moon – Nasa's nutritionists increased calorie intake to 2,800.

Not only were the foods tastier, but the water pistol delivered by the spacecraft's fuel cells ran hot and cold. And not only did the meals have to be sucked through a straw, the astronauts could even eat some of them with a spoon.

6: Packages of Pineapple Fruitcake

The pantry of the Apollo spaceship was overcrowded with snacks. In addition to six portions of pineapple fruit cake, there were packs of brownies, chocolate cake and jellied fruit sweets. For the hearty palate there were cheese crackers and BBQ beef. Apollo astronauts even received 15 packs of chewing gum, each with four sticks.

A typical dinner at Apollo 17 consisted of a main course of chicken and rice, followed by butterscotch pudding and graham cracker cubes. They could do it all with instant coffee, tea, cocoa or lemonade.

Apollo 15 missions also included less appealing "nutrient-defined food sticks". As precursors of today's food bars they were on their lunar walks next to a drinking tube in front of the helmets of the astronauts. This allowed them to eat and drink on the lunar surface during their extensive expeditions – either water or fruit flavored drinks.

Despite the varied diet and the increase in calories, almost every astronaut took off during the missions. Neil Armstrong lost 4 kg during his Apollo 11 flight. During Apollo 13, Commander Jim Lovell lost 6 kg – partly due to dehydration due to water rationing.

Since Apollo, food in space has continued to improve. Today's astronauts feed almost normally, although they long for fresh fruit and vegetables – a rare delicacy that is only available after docking on supply ships 8 were on the back of the moon. They had a special surprise package that they could unpack from the head of the Astronaut Corps, Deke Slayton. Inside a complete Christmas dinner – complete with turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, and it did not even need to be rehydrated.

If something went wrong, you would blame the brandy, so we brought it home – Deke Slayton

"It was a new kind of food packaging that we had never experienced before," says Mission Commander Frank Borman , "We had our best meal on the Christmas day flight – I was really happy to experience turkey, gravy and all the works."

But Slayton had also packed another surprise. "He also smuggled three shots of brandy on board," says Borman. "But we did not drink that."

"If something went wrong, it would be blamed on the brandy, so we brought it home," he says. "I do not know what happened to mine – it's probably now Worth a lot of money. "

Alcohol was consumed in space – mostly in small quantities by Russian cosmonauts on their early space stations – but banned on the International Space Station, even a small amount could destroy the complex water recovery system of the station from astronaut sweat and urine.

15: Microwave Ready Meals of the Apollo 11 Crew

In the long list of benefits to mankind from the space program, ready meals might be an unlikely contender, but without Apollo the Microwave ovens that many of us have in our kitchens or the millions of ready meals we have every day take, never been developed. Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins returned from the moon and were towed aboard the USS Hornet. They spent their first days in the Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) to protect the world from possible moon bugs. Although the MQF was equipped with comfortable chairs, bunks, toilet and shower, it had limited cooking space.

There was no room for a conventional oven or grill – and to minimize the risk of fire – NASA was looking for an innovative appliance solution.

"This is the original tower microwave oven developed for the Apollo program," says Bob Fish, a trustee of the Hornet, now a museum in Oakland, California.

The microwave proved a great success The astronauts made three frozen meals warm during the day

"The NASA went to Litton Industries, which had developed huge walk-in microwave ovens, and asked them to downsize them to one place how this place could fit, "says Fish. "Well, they shrunk it, and when the guys tried it for the first time, they put some eggs in there and they started – it simply blew up the eggs because they did not shrivel up the power, just the size." 19659003] After these initial teething troubles, the microwave proved a great success, enabling astronauts to warm up three frozen meals a day. These included a cooked breakfast, beef ribs and even lobster. The desserts included ice cream, pecan pie and cherry kobbler.

After the astronauts had been flown to Houston and taken to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (still in quarantine), the food increased by one more step. They ate freshly cooked food at tables covered with fresh white table linen.

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