Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Hazza Al Mansouri demonstrates how astronauts eat in space

Emirati astronaut filmed having breakfast on-board the International Space Station

In an environment where anything not tied down will float away, eating can be a difficult task.

Food must be carefully prepared and packaged to ensure it does not spoil and can still be eaten with relative ease.

On Monday, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre posted a video of the UAE’s first astronaut demonstrating how astronauts eat in a microgravity environment.

During his eight-day mission to the International Space Station, Hazza Al Mansouri ate at least 24 meals — each carefully chosen ahead of his journey to help make the ISS feel like home.

In the video, Maj Al Mansouri explained how he had breakfast. He showed how he could release bite-sized pieces of food so they would float up towards his mouth.

“Everything floats here,” he said before he picked up a packet of beige cubes that he revealed to be bread.

“Bread in space looks like this. They are small cubes that I have to eat in one bite.”

Laid out in a row in front of him were a range of cutlery affixed to the table to stop them from floating away.

Salt and pepper in their dried form are not allowed in space — lest they float away and clog the air vents — but popular condiments including Sriracha were on hand at the ISS during Maj Al Mansouri’s stay.

“We have to seal everything to make sure food doesn’t float out,” he said.

Much of the food sent to the ISS must be rehydrated with water and turned into a paste before consumed. Maj Al Mansouri pointed to a tap where potable water is stored and used for meals.

Next, he demonstrated how astronauts remain hydrated. Squeezing out a drop of juice, he showed how the drops float in a blob mid-air.

“It is really difficult to control, which is why you must use the straw.”

Updated: October 8, 2019 08:21 AM

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