If you woke up today asking yourself if astronauts drink coffee when they travel beyond the confines of Earth’s atmosphere, then today is your lucky day. We are going to answer your question.
The answer is yes. Astronauts living and working on the International Space Station (ISS) do indeed drink liquid coffee, but they have just started drinking quality espresso recently.
Perhaps predictably, it takes a rocket scientist to figure out how to make coffee in space.
NPR ran a story on its “The Salt” blog in 2014 looking into the innovations required to make space coffee.
They asked why making coffee on the ISS is so complicated.
To help answer that question, we called up Vickie Kloeris, the manager of the NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory.
“You can’t just send a regular espresso machine to orbit and expect it to work,” she says. Here on Earth, coffee machines depend heavily on gravity, she explains. But on the ISS, there’s only a minuscule amount of gravity — called microgravity. So everything floats.
To solve the problems of gravity and pressure and temperature, NASA and partners developed a 40 lb space espresso machine for the ISS. They call it the ISSpresso (because super-smart people like puns more than regular people).
With specialized tubing and temperature controls, the product of innovation allows astronauts to leave off drinking the instant coffee they once were used to in favor of espresso.
But, don’t get too jealous, Earth-friends.
…the astronauts will have to drink it out of a sippy pouch so the hot liquid doesn’t float away from them. It’s not quite as elegant as drinking from an espresso cup.