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Saturday, November 22, 2014


Fanciful pre-launch image of espresso in space by the marketing team at Italian coffee maker Lavazza
SPACE STATION BREWINGGuest Blog by Argotec’s Antonio Pilello--While other earth bound coffee makers have boasted their coffee will blast you into space, two companies, Argotec and Lavazza are working together with the Italian Space Agency (ISA) to literally deliver on that claim.  Today, is the dawn of authentic Italian espresso into space.  Today, a rocket to the International Space Station will deliver on that promise.  The launch is today!

“An espresso coffee is what I miss most aboard the International Space Station.” Coffee makers at Lavazza have repeatedly heard this comment from the Italian astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and today their espresso wish is about to become reality.

European Space Agency, Air Force Captain
Samantha Cristoforetti is the first Italian
Woman to orbit in the International Space
Station (ISS).
Italian astronaut of the European Space Agency, Air Force Captain Samantha Cristoforetti is the first Italian woman to go into space, but also the first astronaut in history to drink an authentic Italian espresso in orbit.

The innovative espresso making machine is called 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 specializing in the design of aerospace systems and maker of healthy and nutritious foods for in-space consumption, and Lavazza, the popular Italian coffee brand.

Gushing at the opportunity to go into space, Giuseppe Lavazza, VP at the company his ancestors founded in the 1890s points out, “Italian coffee is a beverage without borders and we have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time.”

“Our aerospace engineers,” stated David Avino, Managing Director of Argotec, “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. ISSpresso is a technological challenge that meets very stringent requirements, imposed by the Italian Space Agency, in terms of technical functionality and safety.”

Check out the crema
created by ISSpresso in space
coffee dispensing system
designed by space engineers
at Argotec for Lavazza

In addition to the engineering aspect, Argotec is also taking care of the European astronauts’ training and nutrition. Food provides an important psychological support and being able to enjoy a good Italian espresso may be just the right way to finish off the menu designed especially for each astronaut, helping him or her to feel closer to home.”

Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency added: “ISSpresso is a perfect example of the way ISA's decision to make ISS national usage rights available to public-private partnership initiatives can result in a valorisation of public resources for technological, economic, and social objectives. The ISA will bring ISSpresso aboard the ISS, thanks to bilateral cooperation agreements with the NASA, as it shares with the project partners the objective of improving the quality of life of ISS astronauts, as well as the astronauts who will take part in future long interplanetary exploration missions. At the same time, we are also proud to contribute to the promotion of the image and spreading of the Made-in-Italy brand at international or better “space”, level.”

The new ISSpresso machine
pushes forward the frontiers
of Italian coffee in space
A coffee break in space. Launching ISSpresso into orbit with the Futura Mission crew today will create a ‘corner café’ on the ISS, which will be the hub for socializing on board the Station, a sort of social network in space, a venue for getting together, chatting and relaxing: an aspect that should not be ignored in missions that keep the astronauts away from home for many months in a very challenging environment. The innovative capsule system will also be able to prepare not only a regular espresso, but also a caffè lungo or hot beverages, such as tea, infusions and broth, so that food can also be rehydrated.

Extra-terrestrial technology of ISSpresso is designed to respond to a scientific and engineering challenge: in fact, the machine studies have enabled principles of physics and fluid dynamics to be tackled, such as the difficulty of handling liquids at high pressure and high temperature in a space environment. Just think that the plastic tube carrying the water inside a normal espresso machine has been replaced with a special steel tube designed to withstand pressure of more than 400 bar. The machine is so complex that it weighs about 20 kilograms since there are back-ups of all the critical components for safety reasons in accordance with the specifications agreed upon with the Italian Space Agency.

Argotec is an Italian aerospace company, with headquarters in Turin, that focuses on research, innovation, and development in many sectors: engineering, information technology, systems integration and "human space flights and operations". Argotec trains European ground controllers as well as astronauts at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne and it is the unique responsible in Europe for their bonus food.

Lavazza established in Turin in 1895, has been owned by the family of the same name for four generations. The world’s seventh ranking coffee roaster, today Lavazza is the retail market leader in Italy with a market share by value of over 47% (source: Nielsen), 3,300 employees and sales of EUR 1,340 million (as of December 31, 2013). The company has five production sites, four in Italy and one abroad, and operates through associated companies and distributors in more than 90 countries. Lavazza exports 46 percent of its production.

More Info:

Italian Space Agency Press Office  
Giuseppina Piccirilli
+39 06.8567.431-351/ 366.6449857

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