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  Development of food for Apollo astronauts

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Author Topic:   Development of food for Apollo astronauts

Posts: 2368
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 01-05-2018 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently came across this extract from NASA SP-4015 regarding some proposed preparation and development of food for the later Apollo flights.

You'll notice that it contains a reference to testing a heating device on Apollo 14. Was this actually done?

Interview on Apollo 13 cuisine with MSC chief of food and nutrition Dr. Malcolm Smith, Jr., was published by New York Times. Increased use of spoons, use of bowls, and facilities for spreading sandwich fillings on slices of fresh bread would provide Apollo 13 astronauts more nearly normal eating procedures than on previous missions. Freeze-dried pork and scalloped potatoes would contain chunks rather than be of baby food consistency but meal would still be lukewarm.

Wider variety of fresh bread had been baked for Apollo 13 mission, in lidded pans to provide uniform crust as insurance against loose crumbs which had been problem with former freeze-dried cracker sandwiches. Loaves were passed through 1900 K (3000 degrees F) flame to destroy all mold-producing spores. Two slices of bread made from irradiated flour would be carried to test potential alternate method of preserving food without refrigeration.

Apollo 13's food was 70% freeze-dried, mainly because of space limitation; bread was treated with nitrogen gas to retard staling. Other "firsts" in foods to be carried were pecans to stimulate astronauts' appetites, dehydrated orange crystals modified to prevent caking, and instant rice product to be reconstituted by hot tap water.

Dr. Smith was already planning for 120-day Skylab missions, when hot food would be welcomed. Major obstacle was difficulty in heating food at zero g. He hoped to place test heating device aboard Apollo 14. (Hewitt, NYT, 4/8/70, 51)


Posts: 410
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 01-05-2018 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just watched Spacecraft Films' Apollo 14 set, more specifically disc 5. They did conduct a heat flow experiment in the command module on the return trip to Earth. This may be the heat flow experiment you're asking about.

In fact prior to the experiment taking place, Stu Roosa explains that its purpose is to help explain heat flow in zero G and mentions it as useful information to have for among other things, Skylab.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 38582
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-05-2018 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 14 press kit includes a description of the heat flow experiment, including why it was being performed — but no specific mention of heating foods:
The results observed and photographed by the astronauts will characterize the effects of convection and other modes of heat transfer in fluids during space flight. This information will be of value in designing future space experiments and assessing the feasibility of many processes that have been proposed for manufacturing products in space.

All times are CT (US)

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