Coffee Breaks in Space Are Getting a Whole Lot Better
European cafe culture has spread across the globe — and now it’s about to travel beyond it. The International Space Station is getting its own coffee bar.
While astronauts and cosmonauts have long had to settle for instant coffee during their lengthy stays in the orbiting laboratory, now an espresso maker is rocketing their way.
Designed by Italian Aerospace company Argotec and Italian coffee company Lavazza, the zero-gravity-tailored ISSpresso (its first three letters are the space station’s initials, natch) is roughly the shape and size of a microwave. Into it, astronauts insert a pouch of water and a capsule of espresso, then press a button marked “brew.” Before long — voila! — the machine dispenses a shot of espresso in another pouch, producing the perfect midmission pick-me-up.
The experimental machine, which will reach a brewing temperature of 167 degrees F, will have to be strapped to the space station’s interior wall with bungee cords, Space.com reports. And to ensure the safety of the space station crew in the midst of all that coffee and steam in zero gravity, extra safety measures — steel tubing, scads of sensors — have been taken as well, according to NPR.
The ISSpresso was delivered to the space station along with other supplies on Friday. If all goes as planned, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will soon be bellying up to the bar to enjoy the ISSpresso’s initial shot — and she won’t have to drink alone.
"Everybody can join and can also be happy getting an espresso coffee," Argotec managing director David Avino told NPR’s The Salt. "And this will be also a great occasion, you know, to all meet together and [have] a coffee all together on the station."
Aw, a double shot of togetherness — in space.