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Hot dog! A picnic in orbit.
Astronaut Donald Thomas, a native of Ohio, had an extra spicey time in Outer Space aboard U.S. shuttle Columbia in April 1997. He packed a can of Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce. He also took along Stadium Mustard.
The astronaut says he became hooked on that particular sauce during a 1996 dinner at Tony Packo's Cafe in Toledo, Ohio. The cafe has a tradition of asking celebrity guests to autograph a hot dog bun.
Thomas is from Cleveland Heights and a promoter of all things Ohio. Like all astronauts, he was allowed to pack a few extra items in his kit bag. He decided to take along the hot dog sauce and mustard.
Astronaut Thomas was the first astronaut to request Stadium Mustard. Now, the brand name Stadium Mustard used at Cleveland Stadium advertises itself on the Web as, "The mustard that's requested on space shuttle missions!"
Owner David Dwoskin, who first ate the mustard on three hot dogs in Cleveland Stadium at age 12, says his mustard has been served at that stadium for more than 50 years.
Stadium Mustard flew with Astronaut Thomas aboard shuttle Discovery from July 13-22, 1995, and on shuttle Columbia from April 4-8, 1997.
ALL ABOUT HOT DOGS »»
NASA ORDERED STADIUM MUSTARD FOR THREE SHUTTLE FLIGHTS »»
ASTRONAUT SPACE FOODS »»
So what do astronauts eat in orbit anyway?
The first person to eat in space was, of course, the first person to travel there. USSR cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin ate and drank during his one orbit of Earth in the capsule Vostok 1 in 1961.
U.S. astronauts in the first one-man Mercury capsules squeezed most of their food from toothpaste-style tubes. John H. Glenn Jr. swallowed applesauce in the weightlessness of space, during his three-orbit Mercury flight in 1962. Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. lunched in orbit that year on beef, vegetables and peaches.
Bone-bones. For his 1962 flight, Pillsbury supplied Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter with amazing new high-protein cereal snacks and Nestle sent along "bone-bones" of cereals with raisins and almonds. Today we call these granola bars.
Things improved ever so slightly for U.S. astronauts who orbited in two-man Gemini capsules in the mid-1960's. Plastic bags of freeze-dried foods, liquified by water pistol, were used in Gemini flights, culminating in the first shrimp cocktail in space.
Corned-beef sandwich. Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom ate the first corned beef sandwich in orbit during his five-hour Gemini 3 flight in 1965. Wally Schirra made the sandwich before launch and gave it to Grissom's flight companion, John W. Young, who passed it to Grissom. The sandwich caused a congressional fuss and new NASA rules later prevented such casual dining in space.
Hot food. The first hot food in space came with the three-man Apollo capsules. Astronauts could heat water to 154 degrees Fahrenheit to make hot foods and drinks.
International Space Station flight engineer James Voss plays with apples in 2001.
click to enlarge nasa photo
The first chow on the Moon was consumed in 1969 by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. They drank hot coffee and ate hot dogs, bacon squares, canned peaches and sugar cookies.
Liquid pepper. In 1973, America's Skylab space station had a refrigerator so the American astronauts could have the first ice cream in orbit. They also ate prime rib, German potato salad made with onions and vinegar, hot chili, scrambled eggs with liquid pepper spice.
Borscht. During the Apollo-Soyuz linkup in 1975, the USSR's Soyuz 19 cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov treated Apollo 18 astronauts Thomas P. Stafford and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton to a lunch of borscht, chicken and turkey.
The first French cuisine in orbit was taken to the USSR's space station Salyut 7 in 1982 by French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chretien.
Dried strawberries. U.S. space shuttle astronauts in the 1980's and '90's have dined on smoked turkey, cream of mushroom soup, mixed Italian veggies, vanilla pudding, and freeze-dried strawberries moistened in the mouth. They have snacked on almond crunch bars, graham crackers, pecan cookies, nuts, Life Savers and chewing gum. Along with water, they drink orange, lemon, orange-grapefruit, orange-pineapple, strawberry and apple drinks and tropical punch.
French cookin'. In 1985, French astronaut Patrick Baudry treated his fellow crew members aboard U.S. space shuttle Discovery to gourmet dining.
That same year, U.S. shuttle Challenger astronauts Charles Gordon Fullerton, Roy D. Bridges Jr., Loren W. Acton, F. S. "Story" Musgrave, Anthony W. "Tony" England, Karl G. Henize and John-David F. Bartoe quenched their thirsts with special cans of the first Coke and Pepsi in orbit.
Probably the best meal ever in space was served at the USSR's Mir space station in 1988. French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chretien treated USSR cosmonauts Vladimir Titov, Musa Manarov, Alexander A. Volkov, Sergei M. Krikalev and Valery Polyakov. They dined on 23 gourmet foods from a French chef, including compote of pigeon with dates and dried raisins, duck with artichokes, oxtail fondue with tomatoes and pickles, beef bourguignon, saute de veau Marengo, ham and fruit pates, bread, rolls, cheeses, nuts, coffee and chocolate bars.
No wine. The delicacies were canned for the high-pressure ride to Earth orbit. The chef said French cuisine is inconceivable without sauces and wine, but the astronauts had to do without because wine and sauces would float away without gravity. Dishes had to be small, without bones, and without sauces which could become flying droplets. Meat was made to absorb sauce to guard against dryness.
Gourmet cuisine. Do the Russians dream of a gourmet French restaurant floating in Earth orbit at a future time when anybody can visit a space station?
Soviet spacemen spend months in orbit. To spice up the tedium, they feast on delicacies in a diet of 70 dishes, including meat, fish and dairy products. Some of the mouth-watering delicacies found recently on floating space dishes have been so exquisite that lovers of gourmet food on Earth would have been glad to have them.
Tasty morsels have included chicken paste with plums, sturgeon with jellied sauce, processed fruit and all kinds of juices. The delicacies have to be canned, of course, for the trip in a Progress cargo freighter to Mir.
Appetite lost. NASA has found that astronauts eat and drink as much as 70 percent less in space. Space agency scientists, looking over results of a 1991 Spacelab shuttle flight, found the human body starting to adapt to weightlessness even on the launch pad. Seven astronauts orbited nine days with 2,478 tiny jellyfish and 29 lab rats. The jellyfish had gravity receptors something like a human inner ear. On average, the astronauts lost six lbs. during the first few days in orbit, but regained three lbs. before returning to Earth.
Their body fluid levels dropped, decreasing the pumping capacity of their hearts, but their heart muscles seemed unaffected by weightlessness. The lungs were unaffected, but surprisingly, fewer red blood cells were produced in the bone marrow. White blood cells were less responsive in space. (A.Curtis)LEARN MORE FROM NASA ABOUT ASTRONAUT MENUS AND SPACE FOODS »»