Edited by Stephanie Mojica
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Crumbs are a serious health and safety risk in outer space.
“Crumbs can get in your eyes and they are extremely difficult to remove,” Joseph Tanner, a veteran astronaut and NASA’s unofficial food expert, said during a recent interview.
Also, even the finest crumbs can cause chaos with a space shuttle’s instruments.
As a result, bread as well as salt and pepper shakers are forbidden on the International Space Station (ISS). Hence, astronauts like Tanner use liquid salt and pepper as well as make other modifications to their usual eating habits.
“We eat our sandwiches on tortillas. One of the best meals is peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla,” Tanner said.
Birthday cakes (with or without candles) are also no-no’s on the ISS.
“As for how astronauts celebrate their birthdays, they don’t get the day off or anything,” Brandi Dean, a NASA spokesperson, said. “The work is pretty much business as usual.”
But the no crumbs rule and the business as usual policy have not stopped astronauts from celebrating their birthdays in space. And after 55 ISS missions and 138 Space Shuttle voyages, there have been more birthday celebrations in space than you might imagine.
(International Space Station) – Expedition 55 US Spacewalk on March 29, 2018 with NASA flight engineers Andrew Freustel and Ricky Arnold. (Video/NASA).
The latest five-month expedition to the ISS blasted off with Russian Commander Oleg Artemyev and two NASA flight engineers, Ricky Arnold and Andrew “Drew” Feustel, on board.
In August, Feustel will celebrate his 53rd birthday on the ISS — the third-brightest object in the night sky.
Before his latest ISS mission, Feustel spent more than 35 days in space. He has traveled more than 12 million miles aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis and Endeavor.
“Out of his three missions, this will be Drew’s longest,” Feustel’s wife of 28 years, Indira, said.
Astronauts’ families can send up small care packages with personal items, like photos, to make their stays more enjoyable.
(Houston) – Astronaut Andrew Feustel with his wife and sons (left to right: Aden, Andrew, Indira, Ari) at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. The neutral buoyancy pool operated by NASA features a large indoor pool where astronauts wear suits designed to provide neutral buoyancy and simulate the microgravity that astronauts experience during spaceflight. (Photo/NASA).
Indira Feustel spent months communicating with family members to coordinate sending a package to her husband.
“He will miss Father’s Day, our anniversary, and his birthday, but we have something special planned for him,” she said.
She asked family members to send cards to include in his package.
“We sent up mini birthday hats, chocolates, and a few extra surprises,” Indira Feustel said.
However, she must adhere to the prescribed weight limits for gifts.
Scott Kelly, who has spent more time in space than any other astronaut, has celebrated his birthday in space. For that occasion, Kelly’s brother Mark — a retired NASA astronaut — sent him a gorilla costume.
On the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Jerry Linenger celebrated his 42nd birthday with an inflatable cake.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet received a saxophone surprise for his birthday. Pesquet hoped to bring his saxophone with him onto the ISS. But to his dismay, the instrument did not make it onto the flight. NASA decided to surprise him by sending it up to the SpaceX Dragon in a cargo flight. Pesquet’s crewmates hid the saxophone until his birthday.
ISS Russian flight commander Anton Shkaplerov holds the record for the most birthdays spent in space. Last February, Shkaplerov celebrated his birthday in space for the third time.
“Russian astronauts (generally) celebrate their birthdays with a crumb-free bread called Riga — and it is an acquired taste,” Tanner said.
The most-requested birthday meal is shrimp cocktail. It, like all meals for special occasions, must be hydrated for 15 minutes before eating.
Indira Feustel said she’s worked hard to ensure that her husband Andrew will not have a “crummy” birthday more than 254 miles above the Earth.
(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) – Atlantis Space Shuttle, on display at the Kennedy Space Center, traveled more than 128 million miles and traveled into space 33 times. Atlantis completed the space shuttle program in July 2011. Atlantis spent more than 306 days in space and orbited the earth 4848 times. (Photo/Mary Ortega).
(HOUSTON) – Five things you didn’t know about Astronaut Andrew “Drew” Feustel. Feustel is part of the 55th mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Feustel will celebrate his 53rd birthday aboard ISS on August 25. He will return to earth on August 28 after five months in space. (Video/NASA).
Sources: Indira Feustel and NASA.
(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) – The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) stands 50 stories tall. The VAB, built in 1963, is the largest single story building in the world and used for the assembly of NASA’s rockets and space shuttles. The VAB, known as NASA’s garage, has four of the largest doors in the world. It takes 45 minutes to open or close one of the doors. (Photo/Mary Ortega).
This article was first published here: https://rhodasroadtrip.atavist.com/an-out-of-this-world-birthday-party