Pity the poor astronaut who yearns to wake up to a good cup of coffee, just the way she or he likes it. It's harder to brew coffee in space than you might think, and the process has never been perfected. But that should change this fall.
Italian espresso company Lavazza and space-food maker Argotec are teaming up to send an "ISSpresso" machine to the International Space Station. It will be the first espresso machine to work in microgravity.
An astronaut places a pouch of water and a coffee capsule into the machine. The water is heated to steam, which is forced through the coffee capsule and injected into a drinking pouch that is clamped tightly to the end of a reinforced steam pipe.
The Italian Space Agency will send the new ISSpresso machine to the ISS with the first female Italian astronaut in space, Samantha Cristoforetti.
Another challenge for coffee lovers in space has been, how do they add cream and sugar to their drinking pouch in zero gravity? Rice University engineering students offer a solution: a system of cream and sugar solutions, pouches, rollers, and injectors.
Their project was created as part of a NASA-funded program, The Texas Space Grant Consortium, which seeks student input into problem-solving.
Now astronauts can look forward to a latte love every morning in orbit.