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Background: Astronauts eating in space

06-18-2012 15:18 BJT Special Report:Shenzhou 9 's Docking Mission with Tiangong 1 |

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After the successful docking of the Shenzhou-9 spaceship and Tiangong-1 module, the three astronauts will make themselves at home in their spacecraft for just under two weeks.

When man first began taking trips to space, they were eating out of what looked like toothpaste tubes. Nowadays the food standards up in space have made leaps and bounds.

Chief designer of Tiangong-1 Yujin says, "The food they eat here, is basically the same as that on the ground, various kinds of dishes: rice, fruits like banana chips, and also mooncakes, like those during moon festival. But the packing is very different! Most of the foods have been compressed."

Ease of consumption is one of the standards for space food. The food prepared for the Shenzhou-9 astronauts has been cooked specially, tailoring to each astronauts tastes and regions. There are rules on how much the astronauts can consume each meal."

Yujin also says, "Each day, for each person, it's one pack of food, we call it a food pack, it's designed to contain the volume of three meals."

Astronauts not only have to eat well, but also on time. Though they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes, experiencing day and night many times a day, they still much eat three meals every 24 hours.

They set fixed meal-times, and can decide amongst themselves who eats first and for how long, as they rotate eating shifts. Normally, they eat in the orbit module, where they store various kitchen equipment to heat their food and drinks up.

Office director of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp. Shi Yong says, "We call the equipment a food heater, it's similar to a microwave oven. In the orbit module, there are also machines which dehumidify and dry the air. Several big water tanks are also provided in the module."

In space, the food residue is collectd and contained by equipment in the orbit module, to make sure that floating particles aren't inhaled by the astronauts andmore importantly, to control the micro-organisms.

Shi also says, "If we don't keep micro-organisms under control, there may be harmful bacteria breeding which may make astronauts get sick or even worse: erode some non-metal materials such as electrical wires and insulators."

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: CNTV.CN

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