After too much coffee, you might feel nauseous But for astronauts getting their coffee, stopping floating can be a real headache.
In a video posted to mark International Coffee Day, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has revealed how she made her morning coffee without the help of gravity during her time on the International Space Station (ISS).
With a specially developed ‘Space Cup”, Ms Cristoforetti was able to drink her morning coffee without any problem – even while floating 250 miles (420 km) above the nearest café.
The footage shows the Italian astronaut carefully pouring her coffee from a sealed bag into the oddly shaped cup.
Having an open cup is already a big challenge for astronauts, but this invention allows ISS residents to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life on Earth.
While coffee’s surface tension means it can’t be poured from just any old container, the special shape of the space cup allows coffee to be drunk almost as one would on Earth
Ms. Cristoforetti is a well-known space coffee enthusiast and in 2015 became the first person to drink espresso made on the ISS
READ MORE: What’s the longest someone has been in space?
Welcome home: This week, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio set an American record for the longest continuous spaceflight, completing a whopping 371 days in orbit. But did he set a world record or a record out of this world? Surprisingly not – here MailOnline looks at the previous missions in which brave astronauts spent even longer in orbit
The video was filmed last year during Ms Cristoforetti’s 170-day stay in orbit, during which she became the first female commander of the ISS.
Ms. Cristoforetti arrived at the ISS on April 27, 2022 and returned to Earth on October 14.
Commenters on social media expressed their amazement at the design.
“It’s the little things that drive home the reality of a spacefaring civilization,” one user wrote.
Another joked that they would like their space coffee “with lots of liquid sugar, please.”
In the video, Ms. Cristoforetti demonstrates the difficulty of drinking in space, where coffee poured into a small bottle remains trapped there by the influence of its own surface tension.
Astronauts looking for their caffeine fix have to make do with aluminum bags pre-filled with freeze-dried coffee, milk and sugar and into which hot water can be pumped.
NASA scientist Dr. Mark Weislogel, who helped design the cup, explained in a blog: “In a spacecraft, unless the effects of surface tension are understood, liquids (e.g. water, fuel) can be found almost anywhere in the container that contains them contains.” them.
“That’s why you only see astronauts in space drinking from bags with straws so they can fold the bag completely to make sure the liquids come out.”
To get around these problems, NASA developed a cup that uses clever geometry to exploit the physics of surface tension.
When you touch your lips to the edge of the space cup, it creates a “capillary connection” that draws the liquid into your mouth, similar to how a paper towel absorbs water.
The shape of the space cup creates a capillary connection between the liquid and your mouth as soon as your lips touch the edge
The ISS Presso machine was developed by coffee company Lavazza and spent over two years aboard the ISS providing astronauts with fresh coffee
However, sending the cups into space wasn’t just about making astronauts’ mornings more pleasant; it was part of some serious science.
The same physics that help pour coffee from a cup into your mouth affect all liquids, whether on Earth or in space.
Like Dr. Wesilogal explains, observing how the space cup works in zero gravity will help scientists learn about everything from getting the last drop of fuel for a rocket engine to delivering the perfect dose of medication to a patient.
Experiments with the space cup will also help prevent disasters on future long-distance flights into space, such as a trip to Mars.
This isn’t the first time serious scientific efforts have been made to produce a better brew aboard the ISS.
In 2015, the Italian Space Agency, in collaboration with engineering firm Argotec and coffee company Lavazza, designed the Isspresso machine: the world’s first zero-gravity espresso machine.
The 20kg machine spent two years aboard the ISS and used hydraulic steel pipes to produce a cup of fresh, hot espresso in about three minutes.
Even with the Isspresso’s advanced design, the coffee was still pumped into a bag for drinking, so caffeine addicts in space still had to use the space cup to enjoy the aroma of their brew.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION International Space Station is 250 miles above Earth
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
Since November 2000, it has been constantly staffed with changing crews of astronauts and cosmonauts.
The crews came mainly from the USA and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and the European space agency ESA also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited for more than 20 years and has been expanded with numerous new modules and system improvements
Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions found in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have examined human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency NASA spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners including Europe, Russia and Japan.
To date, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the station, including eight private individuals who have spent up to $50 million on their visit.
There is an ongoing debate about the station’s future after 2025, when parts of the original structure are expected to reach “end of life”.
Russia, a key partner of the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform at that time, and Axiom Space, a private company, plans to simultaneously send its own modules to the station for purely commercial use.
NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project that would also include a base on the surface.