As the 3 Chinese astronauts reached the new still under-construction space station last week and are expected to stay there for the next three months, the station has generated quite a lot of interest among space tech circles. But amidst all this, the wide array of menus in place for the three temporary members of the Tianhe core module inside the station. From routine food items to other appetizing dishes comprising of both meat and vegetable items, over a 100 dishes have been made available to them. The three astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo took off from the Jiuquan launch center on the edge of the Gobi Desert aboard the Shenzhou-12 craft which connected to Tianhe six-and-half hours later.
The module has a diameter of 4.2m and is bigger than a train or subway carriage and has separate zones for work, sleep, sanitation, dining, healthcare and exercise, Chinese state media reported. When it comes to food, the palette and dietary preferences of the trio have been kept in mind along with menus catering to their well being. The dry food rations were taken to the core module some time last month in the cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-2, which carried 160 parcels that weighed 6.8 tonnes. It even took a super refrigerator that will ensure the food packets are fresh for months.
Over a 100 varieties of dishes including both meat and vegetable combinations have been made available and they also include classic Chinese dishes as well. “Famous stir-fried Chinese dishes like shredded pork with garlic sauce and Kung Pao chicken are both on the menu,” News agency Xinhua reported.
Reports said there are also Sichuan dishes, fish-flavoured pork shreds and ice cream and desserts. Astronauts will also get to choose between instant food and beverages and other. In order to make it easier for the crew to eat, the items have been made smaller, bone-less so that it is easily eatable. The focus has also been kept on reducing meal waste. The dining area also consists of food heating device, refrigerator, water dispenser and folding table. The food items are also such designed that they are rotated only after several days so that the astronauts do not feel bored of similar foods.
“The waste and human excrement will be stored in Tianzhou-2, which will eventually depart from orbit and burn up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere," Xinhua said.