Coffee … In Spaaaaaacccceeee

Argotec, Lavazza putting ISSpresso unit on International Space Station

ISSpresso Lavazza International Space Station (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Coffee)

TURIN, Italy --"An espresso coffee is what I miss most aboard the International Space Station." We have repeatedly heard this comment from the Italian astronauts who for 13 years have been at times working in the International Space Station, and their espresso wish has become reality. Argotec and Lavazza are working together with the Italian Space Agency (ISA) to bring authentic Italian espresso onto the International Space Station.

So in the Futura Mission--the second long-term mission of the Italian Space Agency aboard the Space Station--another Italian astronaut of the European Space Agency, Air Force Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, could not only be the first Italian woman to go into space, but also the first astronaut in history to drink an authentic Italian espresso in orbit.

Its name is ISSpresso. It takes its name from the International Space Station (ISS), where it is to be installed. It is the first capsule-based espresso system able to work in the extreme conditions of space, where the principles that regulate the fluid dynamics of liquids and mixtures are very different from those typical on Earth.

ISSpresso is the product of a project run by Argotec, the Italian engineering company that specializes in the design of aerospace systems and European leader in the preparation of healthy and nutritious foods for in-space consumption, and Lavazza, the Italian coffee brand. ISSpresso is a "veritable technological and engineering jewel," able to deliver a "perfect" espresso in a weightless environment. This is why it was selected by the Italian Space Agency to be used aboard the ISS, in the framework of the Request for Expression of Interest that the Agency keeps constantly open to public-private partnership projects and activities to be carried out in the ISS.

"Italian coffee is a beverage without borders," said Giuseppe Lavazza, vice president of Lavazza. "We have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time. Indeed, as far back as 10 years ago, we launched the espresso into orbit artistically with the photographs taken by Thierry Le Gouès and our Mission to Espresso calendar, which at the time may have looked like a work of science fiction but was actually just a vision of the future. In fact, today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso--the indisputable symbol of made in Italy products--on board the International Space Station. We are proud to have worked on this major project with Argotec, through the Lavazza Innovation Center, our division dedicated to research and product innovation: a scientific and engineering challenge which we hope will improve the living and nutrition quality of astronauts engaged on long missions."

David Avino, managing director of Argotec, said, ""Our aerospace engineers have designed a new-concept coffeemaker, which is safe for the astronauts and able to function in microgravity conditions, also thanks to Lavazza's experience as a leader in capsule extraction systems. The functional project was already completed in June 2013: Argotec had been working on it for about one year. This is an ultra-high-tech project which has led to innovative solutions, applicable with immediate returns on Earth as well. ISSpresso is a technological challenge that meets very stringent requirements, imposed by the Italian Space Agency, in terms of technical functionality and safety."