The International Space Station (ISS) shall very soon let its astronauts enjoy freshly brewed hot coffee, thanks to ISSpresso machine. ISSpresso is the unique creation of two Italian companies – coffee manufacturer Lavazza and aerospace enterprise Argotech, and this 20kg machine shall be at astronauts’ service come November. Italian Space Agency (ISA) is cooperating with the two enterprises to expedite this service. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, bound to be the first Italian woman in space, shall be delivering this machine when she gets onboard the ISS.
The ISSpresso coffee-making machine is heavily modified to produce and deliver coffee in zero gravity. While regular coffee-machines have plastic tubes to carry hot water, this machine employs a steel tube to endure high pressure to prevent any fluid from escaping. The ISSpresso doesn’t grind its own beans, but instead uses capsules. The many capsules offer a variety in hot beverages – like tea, caffe lungo, traditional espresso, broth, etc. It can even re-hydrate the food onboard the ISS.
In zero gravity, coffee shall be dispensed to astronauts in sealed plastic pouches, which they’ll have to consume via straws; as traditional cups won’t be able to contain coffee. Lavazza and Argotech representatives hope that ISSpresso replicates the same function on ISS that regular coffeemakers do on Earth – ‘a venue for getting together, chatting and relaxing.’
The YouTube video describing the several functionalities of ISSpresso promises that astronauts shall get to enjoy “authentic Italian espresso.” It was just an year ago when an Italian astronaut stated that he missed it. Lucky him, Agrotech was already working full-steam to get his coffee to the ISS, orbiting 400km above Earth.