What is the kitchen on the ISS (International Space Station) like?
The International Space Station (ISS) does not really have a “kitchen” as many of us here on Earth might relate too. But, there is an area called the “galley” which serves the purpose of allowing for food preparation and consumption. I believe the term “galley” comes from the military, and it was used specifically in the space shuttle program. I guess it carried over to the ISS.
The Russian segment had the ONLY galley when I flew in 2007. There was a table for three, and the galley consisted of a water system —allowing us to hydrate our food packages (as needed) with warm (tepid) or hot (extremely) water— and a food warmer. The food warmer designed by the Russians was strictly used for their cans of food (about the size of a can of cat food in America). The U.S. developed a second food warmer (shaped like a briefcase) that we could use to heat the more “flexibly packaged” foodstuffs (packets) sent from America.
Later in the ISS lifetime, a second galley area was provided in the U.S. segment. It is positioned in Node 1 (Unity) and a table is also available there for the astronauts dining pleasures. Apparently, it was added because of the increasing crew size experienced these days (6), to have more options. During my brief visit to ISS in 2010 (12 days or so) as a Discovery crewmember, I found the mealtimes to be much more segregated than when I spent five months on board. The Russians ate in the Russian segment. The shuttle astronauts ate in the shuttle. The US ISS astronauts ate in Node 1, but often at totally different times. While we did have a combined dinner in Node 1 during STS-131 (with the Expedition 23 crew), this is one of the perceived negatives of the “multiple-galley” scenario. My long duration stint on ISS was highlighted by the fact that Fyodor Yurchikin, Oleg Kotov, and I had every single meal together. The fellowship we —or at least I— experienced during those meals is something I will never, ever forget. We laughed, we argued, we celebrated, we mourned…, all around our zero-gravity “dinner table.” Awesome stuff!
Keep lookin’ up!
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Did you imagine flying tables when you read the title of this article? :) The answer was given by Clayton "Astro Clay" Anderson who is actually a prominent ISS astronaut!
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