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November 26th, 2014
09:55 AM ET

‘Bean’ me up, Scotty!

2014-09-29 14.42.07A jolt of energy has just hit the International Space Station.

In days that can feel like endless nights, what’s more welcoming than a burst of caffeine?

But with Italy’s first female astronaut now on board, regular old space coffee just won’t do.

Samantha Cristoforetti brought with her the very first zero-gravity espresso machine.

Designed by Italian coffee maker Lavazza and engineering firm Argotec – ISSpresso (International Space Station combined with espresso) can withstand the extreme conditions of space.

2014-09-29 14.26.21Lavazza says the machine weighs 20 kilograms because of all the back-up and safety components it requires. And unlike an ordinary espresso maker that has plastic tubes for water, ISSpresso has tubes made of steel – necessary for withstanding enormous pressure.

Much like making coffee on Earth, all you need to do is pop in a capsule and choose your setting. But there's a key difference: Instead of pouring into a cup, the coffee goes into a sealed bag.

Sipping from a bag may not be the traditional way to enjoy coffee. But without gravity, there's nothing to stop coffee from floating out of a cup!

(Photos courtesy of Lavazza).

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Filed under: General • Science • Space
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