sabato 14 giugno 2014

ISSpresso coffee to launch at space station

May comfort on future 'interplanetary exploration missions'

(ANSA) - Rome, June 13 - The chief of the Italian Space Agency (ISA) on Friday said a groundbreaking new system for making espresso coffee in space, ISSpresso, may improve life for astronauts on interplanetary exploration missions. ISA President Roberto Battison said the space agency is bringing the Italian hot beverage system to the International Space Station (ISS) thanks to cooperation agreements with NASA and the space agencies' shared objective of "improving the quality of life of ISS astronauts, as well as the astronauts who will take part in future long interplanetary exploration missions".

Italian coffee maker Lavazza and aerospace food engineering firm Argotec are launching a coffee-making system that for the very first time will make authentic Italian espresso in space, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and Argotec said Friday. "Today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso," said Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president of Lavazza. Dubbed ISSpresso after to the name of the International Space Station (ISS), the system is set to be deployed on the Futura Mission - Italy's second long term mission to the ISS - at the end of 2014. The Futura Mission will also feature the first Italian woman to go into space, Samantha Cristoforetti, who could become the first astronaut in history to drink an real espresso coffee in orbit.

The ISSpresso is the first capsule-based espresso system able to work in the extreme, microgravity conditions of space, where principles regulating fluid dynamics and liquid mixtures are very different than on earth, complicating the handling of liquids at high temperature and high pressure. For example, the plastic tube carrying water inside normal espresso machines has been replaced with a special steel tube that can withstand pressure of more than 400 bar, or 400 times atmospheric pressure at sea level. The machine weighs 20 kg due to heavy-duty safety and backup systems required by the ASI. The machine will not not only prepare a regular espresso, but also other hot beverages, such as caffe' lungo, tea, infusions and broth, so that food can also be rehydrated.

"Food provides an important psychological support and being able to enjoy a good Italian espresso may be just the right way to finish off the menu designed especially for each astronaut, helping him or her to feel closer to home," said David Avino, Argotec's managing director. A prototype of the space coffee machine is currently being tested and undergoing safety checks at Argotec's laboratories. Avino explained that the Argotec had worked on development for about a year before readying a functional project in June 2013. Avino said solutions and innovations found for the "ultra high-tech project" has are "applicable with immediate returns on Earth as well".

The new powers come after recent allegations of graft and tender-rigging in Milan Expo 2015 and a major dike project in Venice. Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala said Friday that he had seen a draft of the bill and was "very satisfied" with the new anti-corruption measures that he said are in best interests of the World Fair. Renzi had vowed to pass legislation to combat graft after the case, including the move to give greater powers to Cantone, and has called for life bans for politicians involved in corruption, saying this is a form of "high treason". 

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