BREMEN, GERMANY — Potential slogans for Bake In Space could be “to bake where no man has baked before,” “bread that is — literally — out of this world” and “Tang has a new partner.”
Bremen-based Bake In Space has a mission, as its name implies, to bake bread in space, which could improve astronauts’ lives on long-duration trips such as on a moon base or on Mars. The smell of fresh bread evokes memories of happiness and is a positive psychological factor, according to Bake In Space.
According to a June 8 article in New Scientist, the first and last people to eat bread in space were the two astronauts on NASA’s 1965 Gemini 3 mission. The astronauts had a sandwich, but the bread’s crumbs flew everywhere in the microgravity and posed an electrical risk. Bread has been banned ever since, and tortilla wraps have become the accepted alternative for sandwiches.
The Bake In Space project officially launched this March. European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst is scheduled to launch on a mission to an international space station in May 2018. The baking experiment, which is part of the mission, should launch in June 2018, and Mr. Gerst is expected to land back on earth to end the mission in November 2018.
The Bake In Space project has partners. OHB System AG will build the bread oven. The company specializes in high-tech systems for space, science and industry and has facilities in Bremen and Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany. TTZ Bremerhaven, based in Bremerhaven, Germany, will provide the scientific expertise for customizing the oven and developing the dough mixture.
According to the article in New Scientist, since electricity will be limited in space, the oven must work on 250 watts, or a tenth of the power used by a standard oven on earth. Exterior surfaces cannot exceed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).Sebastian D. Marcu founded Bake In Space and is its chief executive officer. Iaus-Dieter Relotius, project manager, has more than 31 years of experience in spacecraft operations and development in the fields of human spaceflight. Neil Jaschinski, validation test engineer, came up with the idea of baking bread in space. He has worked as a validation engineer and as a freelancer specializing in the construction and prototyping of space-related hardware.