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Space Foods

One of the early problems associated with space flight was the development of foods and techniques for feeding astronauts. Space and weight limitations aboard the space vehicle were critical and there often were no facilities for heating or refrigerating. In addition, foods had to be low in bulk to reduce human waste, they could be neither gas forming nor thirst provoking, and had to be convenient to prepare.

Liquids had to be transferred directly from their containers to the mouth. Also, under conditions of weightlessness, they could not be poured but tended to float in space. Previously successful efforts by the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force, Ohio, in developing foods for USAF air crews flying high-altitude missions contributed to the development of satisfactory foods.

Progress in the development of foods throughout the space program was reflected in the lower cost and increased acceptance of the meals by the astronauts. Food cost per man per day for the Gemini program was about $300, but this was reduced to under $150 for the Apollo missions and approximately $75 per man per day for the three Skylab crewmembers.

The museum has examples of foods from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs on display in the Missile & Space Gallery.

Click here to return to the Missile Gallery.