Fifteen years ago International Space Station crew members were eagerly awaiting their first functioning toilet. Now low-orbit life is so routine that astronauts will be sipping espresso like posh café-goers: the first coffee maker built to work in microgravity conditions arrives this month. ISSpresso is the product of a collaboration among the Italian Space Agency, Italian engineering company Argotec, and Lavazza, a 120-year-old, Turin-based coffee roaster. Astronauts will secure the microwave-size, aerospace-aluminum appliance to a station wall with adjustable tethers and then get to brewing (astronauts face days with 15 or 16 sunrises). The capsule-based system could eventually bring gourmet consommés, teas and soups to microgravity, Argotec's David Avino says. “It's a food laboratory."
This article was originally published with the title "Out-of-This-World Coffee" in Scientific American 312, 4, 18 (April 2015)