Aerospace history is set to reach another milestone, when astronauts bake the very first cookies up aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Cookies baked in outer space? However will it work?
To achieve this, New York-based appliance company Zero G Kitchen is building a prototype Space Oven that is able to hold and bake food samples in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. The oven allows food samples to be placed in a tray where they are held steady inside the oven while the baking occurs. Cylindrical in shape, the container has insulation and venting mechanisms that allow the oven to operate safely in the controlled environment of the ISS.
Designing an oven that can bake cookies in microgravity is one thing, but getting the recipe perfect is another. If you’re gonna to make actual space cookies, you just gotta make it right. Providing the cookie dough for this mission is DoubleTree by Hilton, a hotel chain synonymous with their signature warm chocolate chip cookies that is a staple welcome to its guests worldwide.
In a statement released last week, the husband and wife founders of Zero G Kitchen, Ian and Jordana Fichtenbaum revealed that the DoubleTree Cookie was their first thought when they began imagining the creation of an oven to make space travel more comfortable.
“Opening up the frontier of space means making it relatable to people’s everyday lives, and what could be more relatable than a freshly baked cookie? When we first conceptualised the oven, we naturally thought of DoubleTree and its signature Cookie. It is the perfect treat to bring a warm welcome to space,” said Fichtenbaum.
A monumental endeavour in the history of mankind and planet Earth, the International Space Station is the single most expensive item ever constructed by humans. Five space agencies namely NASA (America), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (European Union) and CSA (Canada) collaborated in the project, with contributions from other countries as well. It orbits at a speed of 28,000 kilometres per hour along the planet’s thermosphere at an average altitude of 400 kilometres.
The main station was assembled between 1998 and 2011, though the whole complex is continuously upgraded with new missions and experiments throughout the years. To date, the ISS has welcomed 237 individuals from 18 countries on board, including Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor from Malaysia. For the time being, it can accommodate up to six people at any one time.
How the cookies are going to turn out is something we can only speculate right now. Spherical? Flat? Crumbly? Chewy? We’ll just have to wait when the mission lifts off at an unspecified date later this year. The astronauts won’t get to eat the cookies though, as the first batches will be considered as a science experiment and sent down to Earth.
Well good news for people on the ground! The space cookies will be available for order via www.doubletreecookies.com, though it’s unclear whether international shipping is available. Alternatively, you can also book a holiday at any of the 565 DoubleTree by Hilton hotels worldwide via www.airasiago.com to enjoy their signature complimentary cookies. It’s not baked in space, but with imagination, anything goes.
Learn more about the space launch and the technology behind the oven by visiting www.cookiesinspace.com.