thomsona at flash.net
Wed Dec 29 20:06:29 EST 2004
I do think this has implications for further voyages to the Moon, Mars, and
beyond. Perhaps even for things that should be done on ISS.
Space Station Crew Relied on Sweets to Cope with Food Shortage By David
29 December 2004
The international space station astronauts say the recent food shortage
aboard the outpost forced them to cut their food intake dramatically and eat
lots of sweets for energy. They attribute the food problem to a lack of
communication between the previous crew and ground controllers.
U.S. space station astronaut Leroy Chiao says he and Russian cosmonaut
Salizhan Sharipov were happy to see the arrival of the Russian supply ship
named Progress on Christmas Day carrying 69 crates of food. They quickly
began drawing from the new items after having strictly rationed their
consumption since mid-November with the approval of flight surgeons.
Their diet would have been the envy of someone with a sweet tooth. Mr.
Chiao says it was based heavily on sugar.
"We cut in half what I'll call the real food intake, that is, the normal
meats and potatoes, vegetables, that kind of thing," he said. "To make up
part of the calorie deficit, we had to eat a lot of sweets that were left.
There were a lot of desserts and candies on board that we could snack on
during the day to help make up some of that calorie deficit. It was not an
unhealthy diet, but not an ideal diet."
Even with the sweets, the two station crewmen reduced their normal daily
calorie intake by 10 to 15 percent and were facing the possibility of
abandoning the station on the attached Soyuz spacecraft if the Russian cargo
vessel had not arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Mr. Chiao says they
could have endured until mid-January.
He says the problem began when the previous crew broke into their
successors' food supplies with the permission of station managers because
they had discovered the food allotted to them lacked variety. The astronaut
says U.S. space agency officials believed there was more food on board than
actually existed when the new crew took over in October, perhaps because the
previous residents did not inform the ground how much food they had
The shortage was made worse because the Russian supply ship arrived a month
later than originally scheduled, two previous Russian cargo craft carried
less than the usual amount of food to make room for spare mechanical parts
and the U.S. space shuttle is unavailable while it undergoes safety
modifications due to last year's Columbia disaster.
Mr. Chiao says he and his cosmonaut colleague lost a little weight. "That's
something I guess we can't really complain about. A lot of people would be
happy to lose five or 10 pounds [about 2.5 to five kilograms]," he said.
"Anyway, we looked at it as kind of a challenge, kind of a camping
adventure, roughing it in a sense. But all throughout this whole thing, we
kept a really good spirit. Salizhan and I have been joking around and it's
been very pleasant, even with some of the shortages."
NASA officials say an independent team is investigating why the food
inventory was tracked so poorly.
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