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3 May 2015, 12:44 GMT

A visionary dream becomes a reality

On May 3rd Samantha Cristoforetti became not just the first Italian woman to go to space, but also the first astronaut in history to drink an authentic Italian espresso in orbit.

In fact, thanks to the revolutionary ISSpresso machine, Samantha and the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) enjoyed an authentic Lavazza espresso, using the same Lavazza coffee capsules available on Earth.

ISSpresso is the first capsule-based espresso machine capable of functioning in the extreme conditions of space. Its name comes from the International Space Station (ISS) where it is now installed.

ISSpresso is the result of a project run by Lavazza in collaboration with Argotec, an Italian engineering company specialized in the design of aerospace systems and European leader in the preparation of healthy and nutritious foods for in-space consumption.

The partnership between Argotec and Lavazza, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), shows that the synergy between two Italian companies based in Turin representing the best of their industry can lead to extraordinary results.

ISSpresso is a truly technological and engineering gem, able to deliver a perfect espresso in no- gravity conditions. The coffee maker overcame a huge technological challenge complying to very stringent requirements, imposed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

This important scientific milestone will help to improve the understanding of the principles of fluid dynamics and microgravity conditions, in addition to enhancing the life quality of astronauts on the ISS.

ISSpresso sets also a record of shortest space project with a development time of approximately 18 months, far briefer than the average for space projects. The machine is very complex and it weighs about 25 kilograms since there are redundancies of all the critical components due to strict safety requirements agreed upon with ASI.

The innovative capsule system is able to prepare not only espresso but also Americano and hot beverages, such as herbal teas and broth to rehydrate the space food. Some of the technological solutions adopted led to international patents, which will be useful both for new experiments on future space missions and immediate earth applications.