The Zero-G Cup Makes Space Coffee A Reality

We’ve come a long way with space exploration, but as the ISS and Scott Kelly showed us, there’s no place like home. Scott Kelly, one of the astronauts aboard the ISS (International Space Station) for a year, tweeted the world a picture of his bedroom. Filled with the comforts you would find in any home, such as a few monitors and video games, it looked cozy enough. But what’s home without a strong cup of coffee? For most people, that first cup of coffee in the morning is what gets them going. Luckily, Samantha Cristoforetti brewed up some pretty delicious space coffee.

First Espresso Brewed in Space
Along with Scott Kelly, Samantha Cristoforetti is also on board the ISS, where she is busy making the first batch of space coffee. This weekend was the first time the astronauts aboard the ISS fired up their espresso machine. And luckily, it worked. After the espresso was made, Samantha Cristoforetti began quoting the TV show, Star Trek, and posing for pictures, holding her new cup filled with space coffee. The ISS espresso machine is cleverly named the ISSpresso machine, and reached the ISS aboard a capsule called the SpaceX Dragon this April. Not only is it made to make delicious espresso, but it can also brew tea, as well as other hot and cold liquids.

The Zero-G Cup
Normally, all liquids aboard the ISS are in bags that need straws. The Zero-G cup, is a major improvement when it comes to drinking on the ISS. This new cup could actually help people on the ground administer medicine in a more effective way than before. The liquids remain in bags due to the pull of gravity

When drinking out of a cup, it’s normal for the liquid to push toward your lips as you tilt the cup to your mouth. However, in space, it’s not that easy. The liquid will stay at the bottom of the cup and even shaking it like a bottle of ketchup would only result in a few drops. Thanks to astronaut Don Pettit, drinking from a cup in space has become a reality. Thanks to the ISSpresso, space coffee in a cup is also now a thing.

Pettit helped construct this cup while he was aboard the ISS with the help of Paul Concus and Robert Finns, two mathematicians that performed the first analysis of the idea. One side of the zero-g cup has a sharp corner in the interior. Gravity sends fluid flowing along the channel and into the waiting lips of the drinker.

The Zero-G cup and Cristoforetti will surely go down in history together. Cristoforetti is not only the first Italian woman in space, but is also the first astronaut to drink space coffee.

The technology allowing us to travel to space all began with the advent of flight. Experience what it’s like to see the world from above here: