An espresso machine is headed to space! Aboard the Dragon spacecraft, the Italian made espresso machine, not resembling any espresso machine on earth but more reminiscent of an Easy Bake Oven or microwave, was aboard SpaceX CRS-6 and was launched yesterday afternoon by a 208-foot Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The International Space Station (ISS) is the destination for the espresso machine, aptly called the ISSpresso.
Until now the astronauts of the ISS have had to drink instant coffee. But now thanks to the joint venture between engineering company Argotec and the Italian Space Agency, the astronauts may be able to enjoy a richer, more authentic coffee using the Italian made espresso machine manufactured by Lavazza .
Although lift-off for the espresso machine was yesterday (Tuesday, April 14, 2015) at 4:10 pm, it has taken several years to design and manufacture a product capable of dispensing a “liquid” for astronauts to drink without making a mess aboard the space station. (Think Don Knotts in The Reluctant Astronaut.)
The ISSpresso utilizes a capsule system, rather than a full ground system, and will be capable of making not just espresso but coffee and other hot beverages. In a June 16, 2014 report by Bob Yirka that appeared on Phys.Org, Yirka explains, "...the plastic tube that usually conveys hot water inside a normal espresso machine has been replaced by a steel tube, making the unit capable of withstanding very high pressure." The machine also has been installed with multiple redundant systems so that it can be used and serviced for many years to come. The “liquid product” as the coffee was identified by Yirka is dispensed into a plastic bag and the astronauts will sip their espresso through a straw.
The ISSpresso machine, going supersonic at one minute ten seconds from lift-off, remains safe aboard the Dragon spacecraft clearing its first hurdle of main engine cut-off at an altitude of 86 kilometers and a speed of 1.9 kilometers per second and now successfully separated from the SpaceX rocket, it’s heading closer and closer to its destination.
We anticipate ISSpresso’s safe arrival tomorrow and are eager to hear the astronaut’s feedback after sipping their first espresso in space. Will it be delicious? Sure wish it could have been FosterHobbs Coffee Espresso. Since its flavor, body and aroma have already been declared out of this world by our customers who buy coffee online and at our High Point, NC roastery, we can only imagine what it would be like in space!
The twenty kilogram espresso machine is part of the two tons of cargo filled with supplies to prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to MARS. This is Dragon’s sixth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX, owned by TESLA, is one of two private companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station after the space shuttles were retired. Updates for this two-day flight to ISS may be watched on NASA TV at http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv . Join the online conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.
Yirka, Bob. (June 16, 2014). Italians to Send ISSpresso Machine to ISS. Phys.Org. Retrieved from
SpaceX Launches NASA Cargo and Research to International Space Station. NASA.gov (April 14, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.nasa.gov/