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Food in space: What do astronauts eat?

The first meal astronauts eat before venturing into space is traditionally a breakfast of steak and eggs. It’s one of NASA’s many food traditions, but for this particular breakfast at least, there was science behind the menu choice.

Steak and eggs washed down with orange juice, and notably, tea was served to the first American in space, Alan Shepard, on May 5, 1961, before his launch in Freedom 7. According to the NASA archive (opens in new tab), no coffee was allowed 24 hours before the flight, as it might have kept Shepard awake, and he still wasn’t allowed any at breakfast because of its diuretic properties. The menu was designed by Beatrice Finkelstein of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory and contained little fiber to be “low residue,” (which in medical parlance means fewer, smaller bowel movements.)

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