and the space coffee

Moodboard for reporter Chen

Most days at the office, he ends up face down on his desk, newsprint staining his forehead and dirty coffee cups littering the desk space not covered by rewrites and crumpled paper balls. Which isn’t to say that he hates his job. He loves working for the paper - the hours, coworkers, and pay are actually pretty good. What he hates is the people who send in the nonsensical letters to “Abby” that he then has to answer as reasonably as possible, and all in time to be printed and on doorsteps the next morning.

- Admin J

Coffee in Space: Keeping Crew Members Grounded in Flight

Happy National Coffee Day, coffee lovers! 

On Earth, a double shot mocha latte with soymilk, low-fat whip and a caramel drizzle is just about as complicated as a cup of coffee gets. Aboard the International Space Station, however, even just a simple cup of black coffee presents obstacles for crew members.

Understanding how fluids behave in microgravity is crucial to bringing the joys of the coffee bean to the orbiting laboratory. Astronaut Don Pettit crafted a DIY space cup using a folded piece of overhead transparency film. Surface tension keeps the scalding liquid inside the cup, and the shape wicks the liquid up the sides of the device into the drinker’s mouth.

The Capillary Beverage investigation explored the process of drinking from specially designed containers that use fluid dynamics to mimic the effect of gravity. While fun, this study could provide information useful to engineers who design fuel tanks for commercial satellites!

The capillary beverage cup allows astronauts to drink much like they would on Earth. Rather than drinking from a shiny bag and straw, the cup allows the crew member to enjoy the aroma of the beverage they’re consuming.

On Earth, liquid is held in the cup by gravity. In microgravity, surface tension keeps the liquid stable in the container.

The ISSpresso machine brought the comforts of freshly-brewed coffees and teas to the space station. European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoyed the first cup of espresso brewed using the ISSpresso machine during Expedition 43.

Now, during Expedition 53, European astronaut Paolo Nespoli enjoys the same comforts. 

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren celebrated National Coffee Day during Expedition 45 by brewing the first cup of hand brewed coffee in space.

We have a latte going on over on our Snapchat account, so give us a follow to stay up to date! Also be sure to follow @ISS_Research on Twitter for your daily dose of space station science.

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| May 6, 2017 |
My anxiety is so bad today but I still have to get some work done on my paper about Immanuel Kant. Please give me your best tips for studying with anxiety?
Study hard lovers

20.9.17// writing in a nice coffee shop around my place. I’ve almost hit the 1000 words and it’s feeling soo good! 

  • Keith: do you ever drink so much coffee, that you feel kind of dizzy, them like the world is moving in slow motion, and then like your drifting through time and temporal space, and then like you can see everything and nothing, while at the same time being lost in the void?
  • Lance: .... no?
  • Shiro: *nodding in the background*