20 July 2022
Craving a Coffee, a Burger or a Dessert? With Rocket Lunch It’s No Problem Even on Board of a Spaceship!
The Rocket Lunch project, headed by our CEO Jakub Krejčík, decided to turn fantasy into reality and treat the crew of the Artemis space programme to the most real food possible during their three-year stay in space. And now guess what! The Rocket Lunch project has been selected from nearly two hundred entries for the next round and is now competing against only five other candidates!
At the beginning of 2021, NASA decided to resume the Artemis mission (the younger sister of the legendary Apollo mission), i.e. manned flights to the Moon, during which the crew is to build a permanent research base on this natural satellite of the Earth. As part of this, it launched the Centennial Challenges, a fascinating call for researchers from around the world to develop a unique food preparation system for the mission. When Jakub heard about the challenge, he didn't hesitate for a minute.
"In Mana, we have always argued that the universe is all around us and therefore actually here on Earth. But now it is time to move on and make use of the many years of experience we have gained in Mana. That's why we would now like to become part of space research," explains Jakub.
Mana has been working on similar developments for eight years. "First we learned how to make the product as universal as possible for the whole planet in terms of nutritional composition, packaging legislation or market regulations... The next inevitable step is compatibility with the International Space Station (ISS)," Jakub says. And NASA has indeed decided to offer this fascinating opportunity to the Rocket Lunch project. Out of more than a hundred candidates, they are now up against only the last five!
The nutritional composition, texture and flavouring are already perfected. But the biggest question is the miniaturization of the machine, which should fit aboard the Starship spacecraft being developed by SpaceX. "At the moment, the production lines are 15 to 20 metres and should fit within two cubic metres. That's a really big challenge for us," explains Jakub. The Bistromatic machine should also be able to produce four courses of varying consistency, flavour and texture for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a crew of four for three years without major servicing, and so must meet many other requirements. "In addition to miniaturization, we have to figure out the machine's power sources, cleaning systems, and parts for any repairs to the machine, which must be handled by the crew themselves. The crew will only have four hours a week to maintain the machine, so it must be as self-sufficient as possible," adds Jakub.
It’s the ultimate challenge. But Rocket Lunch's dedication, hard work and extensive experience could pay off and if they are given the opportunity, the Artemis crew can feel one step closer to their home planet throughout the flight thanks to a solid and varied diet of burgers, soups, coffee and desserts. And that's the biggest motivation. "Moreover, the shuttles in which this crew will land on the Moon will no longer return to planet Earth and will form the core of a future base on the Moon. Our Bistromatic instrument would therefore become one of the first instruments to operate long-term off planet Earth, and that's really fantastic from my point of view," says Jakub.
Bistromatic from the Rocket Lunch project will be reviewed by NASA in mid-December this year, so please wish us luck! Let's land on the moon together!