The crew of the Atlantis shuttle have had a surprise turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. Some sneaky work by staff on the International Space Station made sure they were able to celebrate in traditional style despite the meat not being in the scheduled meals.
Space being the one place you can’t currently find a Subway, the meals for shuttle crew (such as the one pictured above) must be chosen and packed weeks or even months in advance. At the time the Atlantis food was selected, it wasn’t expected they would be in orbit during Thanksgiving.
The schedule for today included shuttle commander Charlie Hobaugh having vegetarian chilli and chicken fajitas, with Mike Foreman’s “apple cranberry dessert” the closest thing to traditional fare.
However, the crew have now revealed they are tucking in to irradiated smoked turkey, candied yams, green beans and freeze-dried cornbread stuffing.
The Associated Press speculates the meals may have been snuck on to the shuttle by ISS staff. NASA had provided them with turkey dinners knowing that American Jeffrey Williams would be on the station today. It appears Williams – or perhaps his crewmates – made a heroic sacrifice.
I’m not sure how many people enjoying a traditional dinner in the US today would be satisfied with a meal prepared simply by adding water. But I’m willing to wager a fair few will wind up wishing they could have eaten in a weightless environment.