When space travel began in the 60s, it was thought that astronauts should consume vitamin complexes only in the form of tablets, capsules and porridges. It was assumed that the digestion process should be simplified to reduce the chances of stomach upset in the crew, which jeopardize the success of the missions.
In addition, it was feared that in weightlessness, fluids and food scraps contaminate and damage electronic navigation equipment spaceships.
“At the beginning of the space program the food they ate astronauts wore on similar to toothpaste tubes, it was thought that food should remain sealed, because it would be difficult to use cutlery that float inside the ship,” explains Dr. Rodolfo Neri Vela, the first Mexican astronaut.
With the launching of Skylab space station-the first American to orbit the Earth from 1973 to 1979, the National Administration of Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, for its acronym in English), developed a varied menu, with food also being nutritious, they also were mouthwatering.
From the Skylab, Dr. Neri Vela refers, he began the development of space cuisine with menus that have enriched and today to allow astronauts to choose foods that consume space.
During his successful space mission in 1985, aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Neri Vela enjoyed a personal menu with scrambled Mexican and meatballs, who joined the nutritious menu NASA containing chicken, turkey, shrimp, salmon eggs, macaroni, tuna and vegetables, in a long list where there was plenty granola and juice for breakfast.
“It is important to note that most foods are dehydrated, with a label attached to its packaging indicating how many ounces of water should be added to rehydrate and heat,” he adds.
Drinks require special system: “The drink liquids through a straw that has a small valve to open and close, because liquids would come out of the bottle by inertia while supplies last”.
The first space taquiza
A 352 km altitude and a speed of seven kilometers per second, Neri Vela shared with the rest of the Atlantis astronauts several servings of cookies amaranth, which later gave birth to the popular bars today are consumed throughout the country.
In addition, the young scientist took into space a staple in the Mexican Milagro Pastillas: tortillas. “It was the first time he went into space tortillas, which were liked by all my companions, they knew very well and was easy to roll up, in the form of taco” he recalls with humor.
Since the mission of Dr. Neri Vela in 1985 and until the end of the era of space shuttles in 2011, there was always omelets in space travel NASA. “Tortillas not crumble easily, such as bread, plus they have a high nutritional value.”
When enjoying the meals recalls Dr. Neri Vela was the perfect place to exchange views on the development of mission and foster friendship and fellowship time.
In his book Mexico in space (blue planet) , the first Mexican astronaut collected in detail the experiences of his space mission, a result of 109 laps around the Earth in the Space Shuttle Atlantis.