Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll probably get quite the handful that tell you they want to grow up to be an astronaut! Fast forward a couple years…ok, like 20 or 30 years…and most probably haven’t left the atmosphere. But honestly, can we blame them? Space is big and dark and quiet and…we’ll stay right here on the ground, thank you!
But, for those who have gone to infinity and beyond like a real-life Buzz Lightyear, they’ve probably encountered problems no five-year-old could think of. Freeze dried food, having to buckle yourself in to go to sleep, and one can only imagine how awkward it must be to wash your hair. However, those problems are small potatoes compared to the biggest problem real astronauts’ face. How do they get their coffee!?
As of right now, one word: Instant. That’s gross enough on Earth, let alone above its atmosphere, but luckily for Italian astronauts, that disappointing morning brew could turn into something much more delicious! An Italian coffee maker named Lavazza has taken matters into their own hands and teamed up with aerospace company Argotec to create an espresso machine fit for zero-gravity life. It’s called the ISSpresso, which is the oh-so-witty combination of I.S.S (International Space Station) and Espresso. Hey, surely even astronauts can enjoy a good pun while floating around.
The machine basically works like your standard Earth-ridden Keurig coffee maker. The espresso is actually in a little pod and the water is filtered through it in order to brew. However, because trying to pour hot coffee into a mug while spinning around in space sounds like a terrible idea, the espresso is then poured out into a pouch with a straw. Still not your tiny café espresso cup, but you aren’t getting much better in space!
And besides having to adjust the coffee receptacle to get that sweet, morning brew into the astronauts, the machine itself underwent a lot of changes too. Plastic water tubes were swapped for steel tubing that could withstand pressure up to 400 bar and all the components of the machine have backups, which brings the espresso machine up to a whooping 44 pounds!
If everything plays out according to plan, the ISSpresso will be delivered by Air Force Captain Samantha Cristoforetti in November. She’ll not only become the first Italian woman in space, but she’ll also be the first to get what’s sure to be the caffeine buzz of her life thanks to an out of this world espresso, both literally and figuratively!
(Story via Engadget)