Java in space: ISS gets an espresso machine

16 Jun 2014

The interior of the International Space Station (ISS)

While the days of space food are still largely the same as during the Apollo space programme, the quality has improved dramatically given the recent addition of a new espresso machine for those aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

According to CNet, the chance to get a cup of decent coffee in the multi-billion dollar space station has been a collaborative effort between the Italian coffee producers Lavezza and Argotec, one of the companies who produces the vacuum-packed food sent by the European Space Agency (ESA) into space.

Of course, a highly-complicated coffee-grinding machine is a little impractical outside of the influence of zero-gravity, but this specially designed machine uses capsules, much in the same way used by the popular Nespresso brand.

On their official release about the machine Argotec have dubbed the ISSpresso while Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president of Lavazza said they had intended for years to bring their brand to space: “we have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time. Indeed, as far back as ten years ago we launched the espresso into orbit artistically with the photographs taken by Thierry Le Gouès and our Mission to Espresso calendar, which at the time may have looked like a work of science fiction but was actually just a vision of the future.”

The ISSpresso was specifically designed to withstand the rigours of space weighs and weighs about 20kg because of the inclusion of back-ups of all the critical components for safety reasons in accordance with the specifications agreed upon with the Italian Space Agency (ISA).

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic