Swedish Delicacies in Space

NASA is rolling out the space shuttle Discovery to the launch pad this week for a December 7th launch that will carry Sweden’s first astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, to the International Space Station for a 5-week stay.


The BBC reports on the mission, and Fugelsand’s long journey to space: 

In the thick of a complicated series of tasks to rewire the station – hopefully without serious interruption to the resident crew aboard – will be Sweden’s first astronaut, Christer Fuglesang.

He is a 49-year-old particle physicist who joined the European Space Agency (Esa) astronaut corps 14 years ago….

Fuglesang expected to train with Nasa, but found himself on a pioneering assignment to Russia instead. It was 1993 and Europe was preparing for a dedicated research mission aboard the now-defunct Russian space station Mir.

"The toughest part was to learn the Russian language," Fuglesang said. "At that time, we didn’t have any interpreters. There was no material in English. We really had to do everything in Russian."…

German-born astronaut Thomas Reiter, who currently is serving as a crewmember on the International Space Station (ISS), ended up being assigned to the Euromir flight….

Though this will be Fuglesang’s debut space flight, he will have his hands full. Fuglesang is paired with veteran Nasa astronaut Robert Curbeam for the first two spacewalks of the mission.

During the first outing, the pair will install a new external truss segment onto the station’s structural backbone. Two days later, another spacewalk is planned to begin critical work to hook up the station’s permanent electrical and cooling systems.

The ISS mission won’t be all work and no play, however, especially as the holidays approach. Fuglesang already has plans to share some of Sweden’s famous delicacies with his fellow crewmembers:

"Two products that Arla have developed have been approved by NASA and they will feature on NASA’s list of foods that the astronauts can choose from," the Danish-Swedish dairy company said in a statement on Friday.

The two products are a dried milk consisting of lactic pro-biotic bacteria and fruit-flavoured yoghurts that Arla has spent "many years" developing.

Christer Fuglesang, set to be the first Swede in space, has already selected raspberry yoghurt for the duration of the 12-day mission.

Fuglesang hopes to introduce his fellow crew members to other Swedish delights such as dried elk, crispbread and, "seeing as we’re approaching Christmas, gingerbread," the Swedish Space Agency said.

And thus, another first: this may be — as far as we know — the first serving of dried elk on a space mission.