NASA, the International Space Station, and DoubleTree by Hilton made a giant leap for snacking in outer space by challenging engineers, astronauts, and bakers to build and test the first zero-gravity kitchen to cook cookies in space. Hilton’s trademark chocolate chip cookies have become the first food baked in space.
Northrop Grumman launched a resupply spacecraft from the ISS with almost over 3,000 kilograms of scientific investigations and cargo, including the unique zero-gravity oven. Manufactured by NanoRacks, the Zero-G is the first microgravity oven to reach 177ºC, significantly higher than existing ISS ovens which can only reach 82ºC – just enough to heat pre-cooked food.
Because hot air doesn’t rise in space, engineers had to figure out how to place electric heating elements around a cylindrical chamber so a pocket of heated air surrounds the food in a special cookie cooking contraption.
DoubleTree by Hilton, which gives out warm chocolate chip cookies to guests at check-in, provided dough packs for five cookies to be baked in space. Two have been used on board for documentation, with three returning to Earth for NASA testing. So that astronauts won’t go hungry, DoubleTree also sent a tin of baked cookies for a taste of home. Limited-edition DoubleTree Cookies in Space gift tins with six chocolate chip goodies are also available right here on Earth.