Coffee on its way to space station, made by ISSpresso coffee machine (really)

coffee on its way to iss isspresso

After a hard day’s space walking, astronauts would probably love nothing more than to strap themselves securely into their favorite armchair and relax with a cup of freshly brewed coffee as they…ahem…watch the world go by.

With Starbucks yet to open an outlet 250 miles above Earth (hey, give it time), space travelers have been faced with a limited number of options when it comes to beverages, though thanks to a recent collaboration between space-food specialists Argotec and coffee company Lavazza, that looks set to change.

For over a year the pair have been working on the – OK, prepare to cringe – ISSpresso coffee machine, describing it as “the first capsule-based espresso system able to work in the extreme conditions of space.”

isspresso-coffee-machineThe companies, both Italian (well, what did you expect?), said their revolutionary machine can deliver the “perfect espresso” in a weightless environment, as well as other drinks such as tea, infusions and broth.

It gets better – the machine will apparently be placed in a new ‘corner cafe’ on the ISS, “a hub for socializing on board the station.” Corner cafe?!? It seems Starbucks really does have a chance to open a branch in space.

Designing the ISSpresso was clearly no easy task, with engineers forced to overcome challenges like how to handle liquids at high pressure and high temperature in microgravity conditions.

“The machine is so complex that it weighs about 20 kilograms since there are back-ups of all the critical components for safety reasons in accordance with the specifications agreed upon with the Italian Space Agency,” Lavazza said in a release. Company VP Giuseppe Lavazza added that he hoped the ISSpresso will help “improve the living and nutrition quality of astronauts engaged on long missions.”

The coffee maker is set to be blasted skyward in November – together with Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy’s first female astronaut – offering coffee-loving ISS inhabitants their first taste of the bean-based drink in space (albeit via a pouch and tube).

Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Emerging Tech

Frogs regrow ‘paddle-like’ limbs when placed in a bioreactor

Frogs have partially regrown amputated limbs thanks to a bioreactor at Tufts University. By jump-starting tissue repair, the bioreactor helped the amphibians regenerate a bigger, more complete appendages than they usually do.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation claims that it has developed a quantum radar that's able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.