Letters from Space: Missing steaming hot miso soup
Already a month has passed since I was launched into space.
On the week of Aug. 5, I took out the palette with SEDA-AP (Space Environment Data Acquisition) equipment and other tools from the Kounotori 3 resupply spacecraft, and attached them to the exterior platform of Kibo, Japan's experiment module.
It was a complicated task, because in addition to the astronauts using three kinds of robotic arms, mission controllers in Tsukuba and Houston were also operating them from the ground. But thanks to the meticulous preparation of all those involved, we completed everything successfully.
Now, doing work like this makes one hungry, right? We get hungry in space just like we do on Earth, but unfortunately, not everything we can eat on Earth is available in space. There are probably around 300 to 400 types each of so-called "space food" developed in the U.S. and Russia. Japan, too, recognizes some 30 types of food as "space food."
Because we cannot keep food that needs to be refrigerated, what we eat is for the most part freeze dried, packed in boilable pouches, or canned, and some of it is available commercially. We can't cook, so we add water or hot water, and heat it up with a heater. We open up pouches with scissors, and eat primarily with spoons. Space food is made to be nutritionally balanced and safe, so I think the technology could be useful for food preparation in times of disaster.
We drink liquids using straws. But I miss steaming hot miso soup. We have a small refrigerator, so now we can have cold drinks. My crew mate Joe (Acaba) taught me that shrimp cocktail tastes better when it's chilled in the fridge, too. They all taste good, but eating the same things over and over sometimes gets boring. Fresh vegetables and fruit are only available when a resupply spacecraft comes, so they're especially precious.
Letters from space is a series of letters written by Akihiko Hoshide, 43, an astronaut on a four-month mission aboard the International Space Station 400 kilometers above Earth. His reports will cover his experiments and his life on the ISS. The next letter is to be published in September.
August 21, 2012(Mainichi Japan)