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  LA Times: Collecting Space Food (collectSPACE)

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Author Topic:   LA Times: Collecting Space Food (collectSPACE)
arjuna
unregistered
posted 02-09-2012 04:56 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats to Robert, whose 5:30 minute video interview with the LA Times explaining the history of space food via his impressive collection is here.

I'd forgotten about the TopChef space short ribs. I think NASA should release it as a commercial product for gourmet campers.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1533
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 02-09-2012 05:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great collection and super interview!

space1
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Posts: 556
From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 02-09-2012 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding! Great scope across the programs.

I thought Apollo meals were wrapped in silver packages, and Gemini meals in clear packages (ref Smithsonian NASM displays in the Apollo gallery showing silver-wrapped Apollo 11 meals, and clear plastic-wrapped Gemini meals).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-09-2012 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks! That actually came out better than I expected — it was somewhat of an impromptu request by the LA Times at the end of an interview about moon rocks.
quote:
Originally posted by space1:
I thought Apollo meals were wrapped in silver packages, and Gemini meals in clear packages...
Food packaging continued to evolve during the Apollo program (for example, the spoon bowl was introduced on Apollo 10) so it may have been that the meal packaging went from opaque to transparent at some point. NASA's own imagery of an Apollo meal matches the one I show in the video.

Unfortunately, NASA's food records leave something to be desired. According to the space agency, they didn't retain serial number records, for example, because after the mission was over, any uneaten food was viewed as refuse.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-09-2012 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Four ply transparent laminate (polyethylene/mylar/aclar/polyethylene) was used for primary packaging from Apollo 7 onwards for the rehydrate-able and bite sized foods. There was an additional non-transparent foil-plastic overwrap used to bundle the individual food items into aggregated meals.

David Carey
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Posts: 358
From:
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 02-09-2012 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice - I was getting hungry for a moment but it passed.

Perhaps something that belongs under Opinions and Advice, but your piece makes me wonder about preserving the plastic wrappers. I have an A13 flown cocoa pouch and while it's double sealed behind UV glass and the plastic is still fairly pliable, I always wondered about steps to prevent embrittlement and cracking. Anything other than controlled temperatures and light degradation to be concerned with on these items?

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-09-2012 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Three different plastics encasing organic material that will eventually decompose even if protected from UV exposure - me thinks only a skilled chemist can run through the permutations of possibilities

SkyMan1958
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Posts: 437
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 02-09-2012 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great stuff Robert! Congratulations on such a nice breadth (both historically and of food types) of items.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2267
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 02-10-2012 05:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was indeed very well done. I see you have no examples of the Skylab cans in the collection (or the Russian "appetizing appetizer" either). But considering those cans were wet packs, I suppose storage might be a little more difficult than the dehydrated stuff.

One you should add to the collection is the infamous "fiesta chicken". Or as the Russians call it "party chicken" (as in "what is a party chicken?") even if Mike Kelly wasn't too keen for it (he said it was "no party").

Great, now I am starting to get cravings for NASA's shrimp cocktail again (I tried some in 2009). I could see (or rather taste) why that stuff was considered the best tasting among the astronauts.

JSC's food lab does some good work in my oponion.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-10-2012 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
I see you have no examples of the Skylab cans in the collection (or the Russian "appetizing appetizer" either).
I do have a couple of empty Skylab food cans and a sealed Russian can but as neither is particularly visual — they are cans, after all — they sit to the back of the shelf.

But what I really would like to find someday is a complete meal packaged as they fly now on Soyuz.

garyd2831
Member

Posts: 489
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 02-10-2012 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice presentation and collection of space readied food you have there Robert.

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 1031
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-10-2012 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thoroughly enjoyed the video and encourage all collectSPACE readers to view it.

fredtrav
Member

Posts: 1077
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 02-10-2012 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice video. I think for lunch I will have a bullion cube and some croutons.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 02-10-2012 05:49 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now I'm starving!

Great job!

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 389
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 02-11-2012 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a nice segue into my lunch plans for today: Gilbert Huey, Jimmy Brown, Gary Milgrom and I are meeting today at Fox Brothers, our favorite Atlanta BBQ joint.

All times are CT (US)

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