July 26, 1999 NASA has selected Iowa State University, Ames, IA, to head up research that could lead to better food for astronauts and safer, more nutritious packaged foods for everyone.
Iowa State will head the National Food Technology Commercial Space Center, working to improve food for long duration space missions and to enhance the packaging, preparation and storage of commercially produced food.
NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, will sponsor the center. The value of the five-year cooperative agreement is approximately $2.8 million. Commercial partners will provide additional resources in a collaborative effort to develop the new technologies.
As space flight evolves from short-duration Space Shuttle missions to extended habitation aboard the International Space Station, NASA will be challenged to provide astronauts with more palatable and more nutritious food. The Agency must also find ways to decrease the weight of items to be carried to the station, to reduce the on-board storage requirements and to diminish the amount of waste produced. The development of advanced food technologies is essential for successful long-duration missions.
Improvements in the shelf life and safety of food for space flight could lead to similar improvements in commercially produced and packaged food available to the public. Partnerships with the private sector will be essential elements of the Food Technology Center, in addition to the academic institution's own resources.
Following a 60-day cooperative agreement for detailed definition, a five-year cooperative agreement with a possible five-year extension will be awarded in September 1999.
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