When you're in orbit around Earth, you can't just pop down to the local coffeehouse and order up a double cappuccino with extra froth and a dash of cinnamon. European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake thought space fans might like to see how java gets made on board the International Space Station, so he made a video detailing the process.
The video kicks off with a quick tour of Node 1 (also known as "Unity"), the module of the station where food and drink is stored. Think of it as the ISS pantry where edibles are tucked away in little cabinets.
Astronauts don't get real cups like we use on Earth. Peake's caffeinated beverage is served up in a bag to keep the liquid from escaping and floating all over the place inside the station. He picks out a little silver pouch with a delectable-sounding label reading "Coffee w/ Cream & Sugar Substitute." Mmm...just like ordering from Starbucks.
The coffee machine looks more like a panel from the bridge of the USS Enterprise than a Keurig. Italian coffee company Lavazza developed a special space-espresso machine called the ISSpresso to send up to the astronauts, but that's not the device Peake is using in the video, which the ESA posted on Monday.
Peake attaches the bag to a slot on the machine labeled "rehydration station," pushes a button labeled "dispense hot" and waits as the package fills with water. He then removes it, sticks a little plastic straw into the top and sips his java. Peake doesn't offer any commentary about the quality of the coffee.
It's been a busy week aboard the ISS. Peake went on a spacewalk Friday, becoming the first astronaut to sport a British flag during an extravehicular stroll outside the station. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared images of the first flower to bloom in space as an orange zinnia unfurled its petals. Seems like a bag of coffee is just the right thing to celebrate.