Taste, Colour, Packaging and Preservation. The best taste in space.

The European Space Agency (ESA) contracted Argotec as European responsible of the space food development and supply for the European astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Over recent years, Argotec is acting on behalf of ESA as an interface to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the most important European food suppliers. Argotec, in charge of the European bonus food for ESA astronauts and with its recognised knowledge of NASA standards and requirements, developed the Space Food menu for the ESA astronauts Luca Parmitano (Volare Mission) and Alexander Gerst (Blue Dot Mission).

Recently, the ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti suggested some inspirational words for her (Futura Mission): research, discovery, science, technology, exploration, wonder, adventure, travel, excellence, teamwork, humanity, enthusiasm, dreams and nutrition. In particular, the last one will be very important during her mission from November 2014 to May 2015. Consequently, we are preparing a special dedicated menu for her with very simple, easily available and affordable ingredients. Indeed, according to her vision and ideas, healthy food is possible even on a low budget level.

To meet this ambitious technological challenge, Argotec developed independently a new research area for the study of nutritional food dedicated to the astronauts, the so-called Space Food Lab. We prepare food with a shelf-life of at least 18-24 months, 100% organic and without salt. The outcome of these products is a result of activities on research and development that lasted one and a half year only for Samantha Cristoforetti's bonus food. The main goal of this study was to lower the amount of sodium content in food and adapt a method of preservation that would not alter the colour, fragrance and flavour of food. Our healthy products would also boost the ISS crew psychologically.

On the ISS there's no freezer to store food. It would be too expensive. To eliminate any kind of bacterial pathogens, classic and traditional methods of freeze-dried and thermostabilization were applied, of course with scientific calibration tests on parameters process and a perfect balance of ingredients made it possible to comply with the organoleptic and nutritional quality of the food. As announced by Samantha Cristoforetti via Twitter, her official chef is (Stefano Polato), who started to work with Argotec in 2012. Many ingredients were already announced: vegetables, chicken, quinoa, brown rice, puffed cereals, dried fruit, fine spices, mackerel, gogj and mixed berries as well as apple juice.

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