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UAE astronaut to serve Emirati food on ISS

DUBAI, August 6, 2019

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said that Hazzaa AlMansoori, the UAE’s first astronaut to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 25, will host a traditional Emirati food night at the station.

AlMansoori will be dressed in the traditional Emirati clothes, and will offer his fellow astronauts three Emirati foods - 'madrooba', 'saloona', and 'balaleet', reported Emirates news agency Wam.

The event will be the first of its kind, and for the first time they would taste the Arabian and Gulf inspired cuisine in a non-gravitational environment.

AlMansoori, the UAE's main astronaut travelling to the ISS, and Sultan AlNeyadi, the UAE’s back-up astronaut, spent one to two hours daily for a week to taste about 200 different types of halal food and evaluate each. The Russian Space Food Laboratory company is responsible for preparing these meals for space.

"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,” said AlMansoori.

“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 foods prepared for space, but the taste of the food prepared for space varies compared to the food we eat on earth.”

AlNeyadi highlighted that the menu on the ISS includes appetisers such as soups and cheese, and the main course includes fish, chicken or beef, in addition to desserts and drinks such as tea and juices. He noted that their training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City in Russia, included tasting 20 to 30 types of space food daily for an entire week.

Meals prepared for space are usually placed in the form of paste in tubes, which should be directly consumed and cannot be heated, or in the form of canned food containing food in a solid or dried form, where water can be added to it and it can be heated in special equipment for five to seven minutes.

Many of the inventions used in daily life were developed primarily to be used in space, including baby formula. Nasa was aiming to make a food formula that would work for long distances to space, which led to the discovery of Formolide, a substance used in the manufacture of artificial milk, and a good nutritional supplement. Frozen food was also the result of a search for a way to feed astronauts on their long journeys to space.




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