The Canadian Space Agency’s Operational Space Medicine (OSM) group is studying the feasibility of sending Canadian food to the International Space Station (ISS).
Food is an important aspect of manned spaceflight. Psychological research conducted on crews in isolated environments similar to that of the ISS, has shown that food variety, quality, and quantity greatly affect the performance and overall well-being of the crews. A variety of food choices during missions helps maintain morale and lessens the occurrence of boredom, decreased appetite, and poor nutrition.
Until assembly of the ISS is complete, NASA and RSA (Russian Space Agency) are each responsible for supplying 50% of the food for ISS crews. When assembly is complete, and astronauts from the other international partner countries are able to participate on ISS Expedition missions, these other countries may contribute one or more food items to the ISS menu. Each country will have the opportunity to contribute food items that reflect their national identity and culture.
The Operational Space Medicine group is identifying foods that reflect Canadian culture, and evaluating their suitability for consumption in space. Potential foods will be evaluated to ensure they meet criteria such as storage requirements and nutritional value. During previous shuttle missions, Canadian astronauts have enjoyed Canadian Girl Guide cookies, pacific smoked salmon, maple sugar candy, and musk ox jerky.