New coffee machines serve espresso in space

ISSpresso by Argotec and Lavazza scrrenshot video (2014 YouTube, LLC)

ISSpresso by Argotec and Lavazza scrrenshot video (2014 YouTube, LLC)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 6:47 PM ET

When you're an astronaut and space is your main address for months at a time, home comforts become more important than ever. According to Italian astronauts, one of the hardest material comforts to leave behind on Earth is a hot espresso.

However, aerospace company Argotec, coffee brand Lavazza and the International Space Station have been working on a way to bring authentic Italian coffee into orbit.

"ISSpresso" is the first capsule-based espresso system that can function in the extreme and weightless conditions of space.

Its name is a play on the initials "ISS," for the International Space Station, where it will soon be installed.

"Italian coffee is a beverage without borders," said Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice President of Lavazza, elaborating on the project, which has been several years in the making. "We have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time."

The ISSpresso functions via a capsule system that can create espressos, caffè lungos or teas, infusions and broth.

The machine weighs about 20 kg in total, due to needing back-ups for each critical component.

The new-concept coffeemaker was completed in June 2013 but required rigorous testing imposed by the Italian Space Agency, in terms of technical functionality and safety.

A prototype is currently being tested at Argotec's laboratories, with the aim of launching it into orbit with the Futura Mission crew later this year.

Engineers and designers had to tackle the difficulty of the machine handling liquids at high pressure and high temperature, and the plastic tube carrying the water inside a normal espresso machine has been replaced with a special steel tube designed to withstand pressure of more than 400 bar.


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