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30 days in orbit, with nearly 100 types of food


10-17-2016 07:11 BJT

Full coverage: China Tiangong-2 Space Lab Launch

What astronauts eat in space is a topic of concern during all manned space missions, and a very important field of aerospace research. For the Shenzhou-11 manned space mission, the astronauts will stay in orbit for up to 30 days, the longest in China's space exploration history. This means there are higher requirements for the safety and diversity of the food. So what's on the menu?

This is the Space Nutrition and Food Engineering Laboratory at the Astronaut Center of China, responsible for all the food and nutrition Chinese astronauts need when in space.

To ensure the Shenzhou-11 astronauts have the best diet, the mission team is providing nearly a hundred types of food in different categories: staples, non-staples, drinks, condiments and functional foods. The staples includes steamed rice, black rice fried noodles, noodles with beef, etc. There are also some delicious dishes such as roasted beef with potato, oil stewed bamboo shoots; then there is also soup, tea, juice and more.

"This mission lasts for 30 days, so the diet cycle is a bit longer than previous missions, and is extended to 5 days. That means the astronauts will not eat the same dish in 5 days. What's more, the recipes are varied during different stages of the mission. And we have take into account the different needs of the astronauts, it is more personalized," Zang Peng with Astronaut Center of China said.
"We have improved the sensory attractiveness of the food, and increased the variety on the menu. The staple and non-staple foods fully reflect the characteristics of Chinese foods and cater to the astronauts' different tastes. Fruits and other instant food are also provided as supplements. The standard of nutrition has been greatly improved," Huang Weifen, dept. chief designer with Astronaut System for Manned Space Engineering said.

In addition, a space food heating device has been made to ensure that the astronauts can also eat hot food.

So, although the astronauts will be in space for 30 days, it's been ensured they can have the same food they would have on Earth.

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