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ISS crew celebrates Yuri Gagarin flight squeeze-tube cake

NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts on the space station chow down on tube cake in recognition of Yuri Gagarin's historic 1961 spaceflight.

JAXA's Norishige Kanai tried this cake in a tube.
Norishige Kanai/JAXA

A good party calls for cake. And if you happened to have been celebrating Cosmonautics Day on the International Space Station, you ate your cake out of a tube.

On Thursday, the ISS crew marked cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's landmark 1961 achievement as the first human in space by enjoying Moscow cake, a confection made with nuts and condensed milk that is served in squeeze tubes. The tubes are a throwback to the early days of space food.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev tweeted a photo of the crew showing off their red tubes. The ISS currently hosts three NASA astronauts, two cosmonauts and an astronaut from JAXA, Japan's space agency.

JAXA's Norishige Kanai shared a close-up of his empty cake tube on Twitter. He described the dessert as sweet, and mentioned feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation about eating it.

The tube cakes reached a limited Earth-bound market in Russia in 2017, when the sweet souvenirs went on sale at the Moscow Planetarium, according to a report from Russian packaging news site Upakovano

Astronaut food has come a long way since the tube days. They now have everything from pudding to pizza parties to full-on Thanksgiving dinners.