Astronauts to feast on Emirati traditional cuisine in space

astronaut food, space food, emirati astronaut, traditional cuisine, space

Dubai - Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori is looking forward to hosting the 'Emirati night' for the ISS crew.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Mon 5 Aug 2019, 9:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Aug 2019, 1:10 AM

American, Russian and European astronauts will be feasting on traditional Emirati cuisine on board the International Space Station (ISS) when the UAE's first astronaut arrives for an eight-day stay. 
And Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori is looking forward to hosting the 'Emirati night' for the ISS crew.
"I'm honoured to be the first astronaut to host an Emirati night on board the ISS to promote the Emirati culture, which I am proud to belong to, and share some delicious Emirati food like madrooba, saloona, and balaleet, which I'm sure they will like," said Al Mansoori, who will be part of the Soyuz MS-15 mission from September 25 to October 3.
Khaleej Times previously revealed the UAE's national dishes that will be introduced as a guest set for the mission. However, a few more details have been made public.
Al Mansoori and backup candidate Sultan Al Neyadi spent weeks tasting about 200 different types of halal food and evaluating each. The dishes include balaleet (the main ingredient is vermicelli with egg omelette), saloona (lamb) and madrooba (chicken) - and when they are served in space, they will be presented in a different kind of feast.
Balaleet and saloona will be provided in aluminum cans and the madrooba will be in a tube. The guest set will be packaged as ready-to-eat and will not require any additional cooking on board the ISS.
"The astronaut's meals are prepared according to specific requirements to provide a balanced nutrition, while ensuring that they are easy to carry, store, and use in a non-gravitational environment. These foods are processed at high temperatures to be stored for long periods.
"During the training period, we evaluated about 200 different types of halal food on a scale of one to nine, from most to least favourite. We enjoyed our experience in tasting Emirati food prepared for space, but the taste of the food prepared for space varies compared to the food we eat on earth," said Al Mansoori.
Glavkosmos (part of Roscosmos, Russia's space agency), in collaboration with Space Food Laboratory and the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has helped prepare the meals.
"Products must maintain the initial food quality and be safe for consumption when stored in the environment with uncontrolled temperature and humidity," a Press release from Glavkosmos said.
"As the first Emirati astronaut to be aboard ISS, Al Mansoori will not be staying for a long duration at the ISS, so the guest set will not substitute his adequate diet. The purpose of the set is to demonstrate the characteristics of the UAE's dishes to the ISS cosmonauts."
Usually, food for astronauts is pre-cooked as much as possible and only requires heating or cold/hot water. Al Mansoori will be sharing these dishes with his crew mates, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripockha, as well as the crew that will be on board at the time of their arrival.

How astronauts eat in space
. Astronauts eat three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner
. Some foods can be eaten in their natural forms, such as brownies and fruit. Other foods require adding water, such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti.
. Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, are provided. 
. Salt and pepper are available but only in a liquid form. This is because astronauts can't sprinkle salt and pepper on their food in space. The salt and pepper would simply float away.
. Nutritionists ensure the food astronauts eat provides them with a balanced supply of vitamins and minerals. 
. Available drinks include coffee, tea, orange juice, fruit punches and lemonade.
. Space food comes in disposable packages. Astronauts must throw their packages away when they have finished eating. Some packaging actually prevents food from flying away. 

More news from
Wind beneath its wings

Long Reads

Wind beneath its wings

As Air India, and its Maharajah, readies for a second takeoff with the Tata Group, a look at what the brand has meant to millions of travellers — and followers — around the world

Long Reads3 hours ago