Astronauts will finally be able to drink a hot cup of coffee before starting a long day in space. Introducing the ISSpresso, the humorously named coffee maker that will be flying up to the International Space Station (ISS) this November.
Made by Italian coffee manufacturer Lavazza and aerospace specialist Argotec, the ISSpresso will be able to make “authentic Italian espresso” in space. Although it sounds like something that astronauts should have had years ago, the machine is actually an incredible piece of technology.
Weighing in at around 20kg, the ISSpresso had to be made in order to deal with zero gravity, which means some heavy modifications needed to happen. The coffee machine has a steel tube that delivers water to the coffeemaker, which replaces the plastic tube that normal coffeemakers have. The steel tube can withstand pressures over 400 bar.
The ISSpresso also does not grind its own beans like espresso machines usually do on land. Instead, it uses a special system that utilizes capsules in order to create “not only a regular espresso, but also a caffè lungo or hot beverages, such as tea, infusions and broth, so that food can also be rehydrated.”
When the coffee is finally served, it comes out in a sealed plastic bag instead of a coffee mug or an espresso cup. Astronauts then can suck up the espresso with a straw. This ensures that they will not need to spend their mornings chasing around globules of coffee that would be floating around in zero gravity space.
The creators of the ISSpresso want the coffeemaker to become the social hub of the space station, with astronauts all gathering their for their morning drink. They hope it will create a“venue for getting together, chatting and relaxing.”
The ISSpresso will be delivered to the International Space Station this November. Italy’s first female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, will be flying it up there.