A team of engineers and scientists may have just found a way for astronauts to enjoy fresh bread in space.
Currently, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) rely on tortillas as their “bread” because they have a long “shelf life” and don’t produce crumbs. But now, a team of engineers and scientists in Germany is developing an oven that works in microgravity, as well as space-grade dough that’s suitable for baking bread in orbit, so that astronauts may one day be able to bake and enjoy fresh bread on the job.
Germany-based startup Bake In Space also plans to develop a made-in-space sourdough brand based on yeast cultivated at the International Space Station.
“I have heard from several former German astronauts that they really missed bread” while in space, Marcu said. “Everything on the space station has to have [a] long shelf-life. And fresh produce, freshly baked products — that’s something they really miss
According to Sebastian Marcu, founder and CEO of Bake In Space, the idea came from his friend, spacecraft engineer Neil Jaschinski, who had been struggling to find a better solution to what he says was poor-quality bread in the Netherlands, where he works.
“Bread is a big topic in Germany,” Marcu told Space.com. “We have 3,200 variations of bread, with a bakery pretty much on every street corner. In the Netherlands, most Germans would complain about the quality of bread.”
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“I have heard from several former German astronauts that they really missed bread” while in space, Marcu said. “Everything on the space station has to have [a] long shelf-life. And fresh produce, freshly baked products — that’s something they really miss.”
Former German astronaut Gerhard Thiele has joined the project as well.
‘We need to take care of the human beings that we are sending [to space], of their wellbeing, and food, as well as the environment, is an essential part of this,” commented Thiele, who spent 11 days in space in 2000 aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-99
“To have something fresh, whether it is bread or whether it is vegetables, it would be wonderful.”
Bread has been a staple in human diet for thousands of years but replicating the art of bread making in orbital conditions presents multiple challenges. Microgravity, Marcu said, is only one of them.