Consider it one small slurp for man, and one giant slurp for mankind.
Among the more than two tons of material and supplies currently voyaging 257 miles above the earth’s surface toward the International Space Station is a Lavazza-branded espresso machine. The machine is two years in the making through a collaboration between the Italian coffee giant, the engineering firm Argotec and the Italian Space Agency. Nasa says it was designed to lift the spirits of astronauts, particularly Italian astronauts, working on the station who are fed up with bags of soluble coffee with water.
The machine is currently aboard a Space-X Dragon spacecraft that is set to reach the embrace of the protruding arms of the space station on Friday afternoon. It was hurled into space yesterday by a Falcon 9 reusable rocket. The eyes of the world were on the Falcon 9 yesterday afternoon as it made its third attempt to successfully return to the earth’s surface by landing aboard a cargo ship in the ocean. Unfortunately, all three attempts have failed. As you can see from this blurry video, yesterday’s was so close:
The espresso machine itself is actually a capsule-based system that has been fitted with a steel steam pipe made to withstand 400 bar of pressure. The coffee — either a 30ml “short” or a 60ml “long” — is brewed into a plastic bag and consumed with a straw, an unfortunate reality for all beverage consumption in locales lacking gravity.