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Astronauts on the ISS are getting their very own espresso machine

Matt Brian, @m4tt
June 17, 2014
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One of the biggest complaints from Italian astronauts is the lack of fresh espresso. At least, that's according to the Italian coffee brand, Lavazza, which has an obvious interest in the matter. At least the company is ready to do something about it, however, by giving those aboard the International Space Station a proper caffeine fix. The Italian coffee maker has teamed up with aerospace company Argotec to create the ISSpresso: a specially-modified coffee machine that's capable of delivering "authentic Italian espresso" in space.

Because it's not as simple as pouring fresh coffee into a cup, the team adapted various parts of the machine to overcome the various physics and fluid dynamics challenges they might encounter in zero gravity. This included swapping plastic water tubes for steel tubing capable of withstanding pressure over 400 bar and integrating backups of all the components -- a safety requirement by the Italian Space Agency. The ISSpresso will be delivered in November this year by Air Force Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, who will become the first Italian woman in space and the first person to enjoy an espresso shot in orbit. She'll have to sip it from a small pouch using a straw, but she's probably not going to argue, as long it's left to cool slightly first.

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