NASA chooses 18 companies to work with within space food program

13:24, 22 October 2021
NASA chooses 18 companies to work with within space food program Photo:

NASA has chosen 18 companies that worked for space food for astronauts within the agency’s agenda of bringing new ideas into the space food program. 

The companies bring new ideas into space nutrition for space explorers within the Deep Space Food Challenge, which NASA believes would help astronauts remain healthy and in good shape during their cosmic mission. NASA made an announcement this week that more than a dozen companies will be paid $25,000 to proceed working on a space food solution.

The space agency is serious about innovations in the space food field and assured that the success demands new approaches, Ralph Fritsche, NASA Senior Project Manager for space crop production said.

Fritsche said that around 10 NASA employees, who have been experienced in food production and spaceflight participated as judges in the contest, which counted for more than 100 applications.

“These ideas didn’t have to be anywhere close to fully developed,” he said.

“Some of our judges may have had some skepticism, but we’ve decided to open up space food development to many other groups to try and promote space innovation.”

A group of companies, located in California, under the name of Mission: Space Food has suggested the 3D printed space steak as one of the listed firms Aleph Farms come to success by printing a facsimile of a rib-eye steak back in February.

Shahreen Reze, co-founder of Mission: Space Food said in an email that it is incredibly necessary to bring the new ideas into the space food agenda, urging them to invest more in space agencies and private companies in food production, making thus astronauts significantly less depending on resupply from Earth.

Cosmic Eats, a startup company based in Cary, North Carolina came up with an idea of mixing fungus, algae, and plants.

“Variety is very important on a long space journey, so anything that adds to variety is a big plus,” Fritsche said.

However, judges haven't been inspired by the new suggestion as NASA already has grown leafy greens, peppers, and radishes in space, according to Fritsche.