|ISSpresso. Image: Argotec|
The new espresso machine is sponsored by the Italian Space Agency and was specially created by Italian coffeemaker Lavazza and areospace company Argotec. Dubbed the "ISSpresso" (a wordplay on acronym for International Space Station), it is the first capsule-based espresso system designed to work in the microgravity conditions of space where the principles that regulate the fluid dynamics of liquids and mixtures are very different from those on Earth. In addition to espresso, the ISSpresso is able to make other hot beverages such as tea. The ISSpresso will also be used to prepare infusions and broth so that food can be rehydrated.
Crew members can consume an ISSpresso beverage using specially designed space cups as part of a capillary beverage study — an improvement to the standard drinking pouch with a straw. These specially designed containers use fluid properties such as surface tension to control the beverage in the cup. NASA says that this test may add to the scientific field of micro-fluidics used in Earth-based medical and drug delivery applications.