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NASA ISS

The International Space Station (Finally) Gets an Espresso Machine 108

coondoggie writes NASA this week will be sending its first espresso making machine into space, letting astronauts onboard the International Space Station brew coffee, tea or other hot beverages for those long space days. Making espresso in space is no small feat, as heating the water to the right temperature – 208F – and generating enough pressure to make the brew are critical in the brewing process. And then getting it into a “cup,” well that’s nearly impossible in gravity-free space. NASA, the Italian space agency ASI, aerospace firm Argotec, and coffee company Lavazza have come up with en experimental machine that will deliver the espresso into what basically amounts to a sippy pouch.
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The International Space Station (Finally) Gets an Espresso Machine

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  • Cow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:28PM (#49465953)

    All they need now is a nonfat/soy cow so they can make latte.

    • You can 3D print these now. As well as the bags to hold the poop.

      "Wow, look at that meteor shows. No dear, those are flaming bags of poop from the space station."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        well during the last expedition they also brought a 3d printer along on the ISS:

        https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1115.html

    • by jblues ( 1703158 )

      All they need now is a nonfat/soy cow so they can make latte.

      I think a Llama would be much more suitable than a cow to bring to space.

      • * They're a ready-made scaled down camel. No doubt with selective breeding they could be scaled down further to space-friendly chihuahua size.
      • * Camel milk is a rich source of proteins and has potential antimicrobial activity to help protect against nasty space flu (you may mock now, but anti-gravity projectile vomiting is no joke). Its also lower in lactose, which is difficult for some folks, but higher in nutrients like potassium,
      • Alpacas are smaller than llamas. Maybe we should be starting there?
        • by jblues ( 1703158 )

          Alpacas are smaller than llamas. Maybe we should be starting there?

          Oops, I got the two mixed up.

          Crazy random idea:

          • Breed animals (or humans) with a recessive gene for smallness. All-packa-a them tightly in space ship. Travel to Mars.
          • Upon arrival, and establishment of self-sustaining colony, seed them with non-recessive gene to get back to normal size.

          Avoids having to bootstrap from embryo.

      • All they need now is a nonfat/soy cow so they can make latte.

        I think a Llama would be much more suitable than a cow to bring to space.

        • * They're a ready-made scaled down camel. No doubt with selective breeding they could be scaled down further to space-friendly chihuahua size.
        • * Camel milk is a rich source of proteins and has potential antimicrobial activity to help protect against nasty space flu (you may mock now, but anti-gravity projectile vomiting is no joke). Its also lower in lactose, which is difficult for some folks, but higher in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc.
        • * They're hardy in arid climates like heavily airconditioned space stations and early terraformed mars.
        • * If you Google up what a bowl of fresh camel milk looks like, you'll see that it comes in a spectacularly pre-frothed state, just perfect for lattes and cappuccinos [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/HALIB.jpg]
        • I, for one, welcome our new Chihuahua-sized Space Llama overlords.

        I, for one, want a Chihuahua-sized Space Llama just because it would:
        a: be awesome to have it run around the apartment
        b: it could be a mobile remote holder and it wouldn't climb into the bed.
        C: you could use those American doll horse stables for it and mucking it out is a breeze.
        d. its quiet. No barking to wake up anyone yet it would spit and scare intruders.
        e. Perfect for social media

        So yes, I I, for one, welcome our new Chihuahua-sized Space Llamas just not as overlords.

  • Can you get to 208 degrees F at the internal pressure at which the space station is maintained?

    • Re:Physics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:33PM (#49465975) Journal
      You can get to any pressure you need as long as it's designed along the lines of a pressure cooker.
      • for those long space days

        Isn't the orbital period 90 minutes, and thus the "space day" 90 minutes, and not actually that long?

        • True but you have 16 times as many of them.

          Whatgets me is the rotational section of the station was scrapped. While zero gee expiraments are nessecary we also need centrpidal experiments for endurance.

    • by clj ( 153252 )

      Since the space station has an earth sea-level atmosphere, yes.

    • Re:Physics (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:36PM (#49465999)

      Can you get to 208 degrees F at the internal pressure at which the space station is maintained?

      No, they cannot because they use SI units.

    • You're confusing boiling point with temperature.
      • Re:Physics (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @06:09PM (#49466163)

        You're confusing boiling point with temperature.

        No, I don't think he is, but I think maybe you don't understand the relation between boiling point and easily achievable temperature. You put water in a pot and apply heat. That heat then makes its way to the water, heating the water. Once the water reaches it's boiling point, it vaporizes, leaving the pot. Once it's outside of the pot, it's EXTREMELY difficult for you to add more heat to it. Thus if your boiling point is X, it's pretty much impossible to get the water to a temperature greater than X under typical circumstances.

        Thus, in him asking "Can you get to 208 degrees F at the internal pressure at which the space station is maintained", the implied question is "does the space station have an atmospheric pressure that results in a water boiling point of 208 degrees F or greater?"

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You put water in a pot and apply heat. That heat then makes its way to the water, heating the water.

          Whoa, slow down cowboy. This is a lot of new information to process all at once.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Too bad it is impossible to raise the boiling point by heating it in a sealed container.

          Oh wait.....

        • Re:Physics (Score:4, Informative)

          by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @07:17PM (#49466503) Homepage

          No, I don't think he is, but I think maybe you don't understand the relation between boiling point and easily achievable temperature. You put water in a pot and apply heat. That heat then makes its way to the water, heating the water. Once the water reaches it's boiling point, it vaporizes, leaving the pot. Once it's outside of the pot, it's EXTREMELY difficult for you to add more heat to it. Thus if your boiling point is X, it's pretty much impossible to get the water to a temperature greater than X under typical circumstances.

          Do you understand what an espresso [wikipedia.org] machine does and how it works?

          The heated water and steam are under about 10bar of pressure, and forced through the cofee. It works by having its own pressure internally.

          Unlike a normal coffee pot or a tea pot, you do NOT simply put water in a pot and apply heat. You pump it into a pressure chamber, and heat it to exactly the temperature you want. It's almost boiling, but not quite.

          Thus, in him asking "Can you get to 208 degrees F at the internal pressure at which the space station is maintained", the implied question is "does the space station have an atmospheric pressure that results in a water boiling point of 208 degrees F or greater?"

          With the answer being that the internal pressure of the space station, unless it has depressurizes altogether, is not relevant to how a properly designed, space espresso machine will generate its own pressure.

          That's what "espresso machine" means. That's why it makes very different coffee from either other methods.

          • by rioki ( 1328185 )

            I would not consider 70 - 80C (158-176 F) "close to boiling point". The remainder is correct, an espresso machine works primarily on pressure. That is why it makes RRRRR Pffff sound when the presure valve releases.

            (Didn't the Italians already bring a converted nespresso machine to the ISS?)

            • Re:Physics (Score:4, Informative)

              by Neil Boekend ( 1854906 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2015 @05:06AM (#49468531)

              Especially since at 10 bar the boiling point of water is 179C.

            • Well, the link I gave says "88 ± 2 ÂC (190 ± 4 ÂF)", which is hotter than the numbers you seem to be providing. TFS says 208F. So I have no idea where you're getting your numbers.

              Argotec and Lavazza are Italian companies, so I assume this is the one you're thinking of and is finally arriving.

    • Re:Physics (Score:4, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @06:07PM (#49466149)

      Can you get to 208 degrees F at the internal pressure at which the space station is maintained?

      No. No one on the design team thought about that, so they're going to go through all of the expense of designing, building, and launching an espresso machine to the ISS only to realize that no one though about pressure. The launch got postponed though, you better call up NASA and ask them if anyone thought of pressure before it's too late. Feel free to offer your own expertise.

    • Re:Physics (Score:4, Informative)

      by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @06:28PM (#49466257) Homepage

      The atmosphere on board the ISS is similar to the Earth's.[142] Normal air pressure on the ISS is 101.3 kPa (14.7 psi);[143] the same as at sea level on Earth. An Earth-like atmosphere offers benefits for crew comfort, and is much safer than the alternative, a pure oxygen atmosphere, because of the increased risk of a fire such as that responsible for the deaths of the Apollo 1 crew.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • The atmosphere on board the ISS is similar to the Earth's.[142] Normal air pressure on the ISS is 101.3 kPa (14.7 psi);[143] the same as at sea level on Earth. An Earth-like atmosphere offers benefits for crew comfort, and is much safer than the alternative, a pure oxygen atmosphere, because of the increased risk of a fire such as that responsible for the deaths of the Apollo 1 crew.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        I was surprised to find that the pressure is sea level, given that an airline flight has a pressurized equivalent of 8000 ft. I guess when the outside of the vehicle is a vacuum, the incremental pressure isn't that much.

        • I think it is more about how many compression/decompression cycles an aluminum-skinned aircraft can handle before you end its service life. Inflate the aircraft to a higher pressure and it will cause more stress.

        • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

          Indeed, a pressure of 1 atmosphere ~= the pressure of 34 feet of water.

          Deepest see explorer go down below 5,000 meters.

          16 404 / 34 = 482 atmospheres !

          Even in space, it shouldn't be too hard to build something to stand 1 atmosphere.

          I don't think airplanes are air tight. That could explain why it would be hard to maintain a pressure of 1 atmosphere in one of those when they fly at 35,000 feet ;-)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

          • by GTRacer ( 234395 )

            Even in space, it shouldn't be too hard to build something to stand 1 atmosphere.

            obFuturama: SCENE - The Planet Express Ship is being dragged towards the bottom of the ocean by a colossal-mouth bass.

            Leela: Depth at 45 hundred feet, 48 hundred, 50 hundred! 5000 feet!
            Farnsworth: Dear Lord! That's over 150 atmospheres of pressure!
            Fry: How many atmospheres can the ship withstand?
            Farnsworth: Well, it's a space ship, so I'd say anywhere between zero and one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A pure O2 environment does not present any increased risk of fire, at least not the way that the US implemented it.

        People totally misunderstand Apollo 1. The issue was not that the environment was pure O2, as all Apollo flights flew with pure O2 atmospheres, but that in order to simulate flight conditions the capsule was pressurized with pure O2 to the same pressure differential it would normally experience in flight; about 4psi. That meant that it was actually filled with about 18-19psi of pure O2, at whic

        • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

          well, I don't know wtf you are doing on this thread but last time I looked, as long as you have no point of ignition after take-off, chances are on your side.

          Disclaimer: I work for an oxygen reseller.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@@@poetic...com> on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:33PM (#49465977)

    I sometimes drink from an insulated, sealed mug that's like a sippy cup. Still tastes OK, but I miss the odor filling my lungs with excitement. The good news is that the coffee doesn't oxidize or taste bitter after a couple hours in that cup.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Eddy_D ( 557002 )
      But, in zero G without the sippy cup, the hot liquid coffee fills your lungs with excitement.
  • if only (Score:3, Funny)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:33PM (#49465979)
    if only there were some way to dehydrate or freeze-dry coffee to make instant coffee. Then all this expensive and dangerous technology would not be needed and they could have had coffee years ago.
    • Re:if only (Score:4, Insightful)

      by don depresor ( 1152631 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:42PM (#49466037)
      If only the taste of instant coffe wasn't shit...
    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      I am currently working on a similar project: Instant beer.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pish posh! You creatures and your limited imaginations! I'm working on freeze-dried water. You just wait, it's gonna revolutionize space flight, camping, AND municipal water systems!

      Now combine that with powdered alcohol, the contents of those powdered candy straws for kids, and you're talking about a yummy dry aperitif the likes of which have never been seen before!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While you are correct in that there are easier ways to make coffee in zero g, I think that this is a much broader experiment.

      We're testing boiling points in space, the ability to maintain pressure in a zero g environment, and a lot more sciencey things. Getting a cuppa joe at the end is just a nice bonus.

    • if only there were some way to dehydrate or freeze-dry coffee to make instant coffee.

      I'm an American...

      Thanks, no need to point that out anymore.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:40PM (#49466017)

    .... they didn't just go with something like the Starbucks Verismo [yahoo.com] system

    • An off-the-shelf coffee maker would spew aerosolised super-heated water everywhere and properly bring the ISS crashing to Earth.
  • You have to be careful, brown liquids are easy to mix up in space.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @05:55PM (#49466101) Homepage

    NASA this week

    Eh. Try "This week, NASA..."

    will be send

    Ahem.

    its first espresso making machine into space [comma] letting astronauts onboard the International Space Station brew coffee

    for those long space days.

    Err, for those what? The only thing you can remotely call a "day" on the ISS is about 90 minutes long.

    making the water heat

    Or "heating the water" as we say in English...

    And then getting it into a “cup,” well that’s nearly impossible in gravity-free space.

    And writing an article in proper journalistic English, well that's nearly impossible if you insist on writing down words as if you were speaking them out loud and don't bother editing them afterwards.

    Also low-Earth orbit is not "gravity-free."

    Can we please not link to articles that appear to have been written by a well-read LOLcat?

    • low-Earth orbit

      That's right, an orbit around low-Earth. That's exactly what I meant. No, it's not ironic that I wrote that while complaining about how badly written the article was, because I meant to write that and it's not a silly typo. Shut up.

      • by D.McG. ( 3986101 )
        If there's a low-Earth, there must also be a middle-Earth to complement a high-Earth, yes?
        • Lo-Earth has a sea salted with magnesium instead of sodium. The black stuff coming out of the ground is a bit like molasses, as sugar was added to compensate for the low volume of fats and oils.
    • The only thing you can remotely call a "day" on the ISS is about 90 minutes long.

      The astronauts are on a 24-hour work/sleep cycle. It may not have anything to do with sunrises and sunsets anymore (1), but is there any reason other than extreme pedantism to not call that cycle a day?

      1: other than the sunrises and sunsets over the control centers in Houston and Moscow [nasa.gov].

  • so Euro-Centric. so anti-Energy-Drink.
  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @06:50PM (#49466363)

    Its always 90 minutes or less until bedtime.

  • The Nutri-Matic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @06:50PM (#49466365)
    I hope it avoids making something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee.
  • They could torture the astronauts with a Keurig Machine and K-cups.

  • They're changing our astronaut heroes into hipster douchebags. Please tell me they're not giving them Macbook Airs and telling them to write a novel.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      *sigh*

      The machine was provided to NASA by the Italian Space Agency to go up with one of their astronauts. The Italians have been hipsters since before the hipsters were hip.

      • *sigh*

        The machine was provided to NASA by the Italian Space Agency to go up with one of their astronauts. The Italians have been hipsters since before the hipsters were hip.

        Christ, no. Italians are snappy dressers.

  • Meanwhile, the tea drinkers have been sitting back all of these years laughing at the coffee complaints... Plus, the tea guys get to drink theirs with chopsticks...

    http://www.nasa.gov/audience/f... [nasa.gov]

    I'm willing to bet that the coffee guys finally got fed up which is why the espresso machine... (grin)

  • It's an espresso machine. Espresso requires very high pressure to make in the first place: between 9-14 bars. That's an order of magnitude above atmospheric pressure and several times more than what you'd see in a pressure cooker.

    The pressure isn't the difficult part. It's making sure you get the product to come out safely and correctly without gravity after being subject to such high temperatures and pressures that's the hard part.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Somehow the summary missed the best part. The machine is an ISSpresso machine.

  • Piu' lo mandi giu'...
  • Thanks you, have a nice day :) http://www.educa.net/curso/tal... [educa.net]

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