ASI – the Italian Space Agency – announced the upcoming launch of a new Italian astronaut. Luca Parmitano, Italian Air Force Major, is ranked first among those belonging to the latest generation of ESA astronauts. Promoting the future of European Space exploration and expand ESA’s and Italy’s role in the ISS project are among the mission’s objectives, purposely named “Volare”. Parmitano will lead the first long-term mission ever assigned to the Italian Space Agency.
The launch is scheduled for the end of May and the mission will last six months. Luca Parmitano, born in 1976, is part of the European Space Agency Astronaut Corps since May 2009.
Space Food for the mission was specifically conceived for the ISS by ARGOTEC, Italian aerospace firm, and prepared by Davide Scabin, Turin-Based Michelin-starred Chef. Argotec is responsible for ESA astronauts space food, knowing their needs and NASA standards, follows the phases of requirements definition, project management, product selection and packaging, while the actual production of the space catering was conducted by Chef Davide Scabin.
The main purpose of the research project was to lower the sodium content of the ingredients and adopt a method of preservation that would not alter the color, the fragrance and flavors of the food. It was also important to create dehydrated products sealed in a “space” packaging designed to meet the industry’s elevated standards.
The Bitter Extra Blend Cialdine and chocolate covered coffee beans will travel on board the spacecraft for the mission named “Volare”. Guido Gobino, artisan of Turinoise excellence in taste, in collaboration with ALTEC spa, created the Chocolate that will be catered by NASA to the “Volare” crew.
Luca Parmitano and his colleagues will experience such delicacy in space, the Extra Bitter Blend Cialdine, in their three different percentages of cocoa (63%, 70% and 75)
without the addition of soy lecithin and vanilla to minimize every type of intolerance and allergies, and coffee beans covered with fondant which will replace the traditional “espresso ” filling in its liquid form, not suitable for the conditions of the spacecraft. The wafers and chocolate coffee beans, as well as other foods of the “stellar menu”, are tightly sealed in four special vacuum packs and will be carried into orbit by “Albert Einstein”, an unmanned shuttle that will snap onto the space station in the second half of April.
Le Cialdine e i Chicchi di Caffè al fondente, così come gli altri cibi del “menù stellare”, sono confezionate in quattro speciali pack sottovuoto e saranno portate in orbita da “Albert Eistein”, una navetta senza equipaggio che si aggancerà alla stazione orbitale nella seconda metà di aprile.
The products we will send into orbit are made from the highest quality raw materials without any fats other than those deriving from cocoa butter. This is to ensure a pure chocolate, able to maintain its qualities unaltered even in such extreme conditions. I am honored to take part in this project and, I confess my personal curiousness as to how the sensory perception of my products may change in absence of gravity during spaceflight”. Guido GobinoGuido Gobino