If you’re a fan of frothy coffee, imagine an espresso or Americano brewed in space, pumped through steel pipes and poured into a zero-gravity mug ready for you to drink.
That is one of the latest achievements on the International Space Station, thanks to a partnership between the Italian Space Agency, NASA, Italian engineering developers Argotec and coffee brand Lavazza.
Dubbed ISSpresso, the portable device – which can be disconnected from the ISS’s water supply and stowed safely away – uses steel pipes that can stand high pressure, rather than the usual plastic pipes.
When in use, it is hooked up to the water supply, and a coffee capsule is added, before the machine brews the drink in a very similar way to a coffee machine on Earth.
The drink is poured into a standard NASA drink bag, or into a special zero-g cup that relies on the surface tension of the beverage to prevent it from floating away.
It’s designed to offer a ‘taste of home’ to the Italian astronauts, as well as being one of nine experiments currently taking place to develop new technologies with Earthbound applications.