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3 May 2015, 12:44 GMT

A visionary dream becomes a reality

Today 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 other members of the International Space Station crew enjoyed an authentic Lavazza espresso, using the same Lavazza coffee capsules as on Earth.

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

It is the product of a project run by Lavazza and Argotec, the Italian engineering company specialised 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 partnership with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), shows that synergy between two Italian companies based in Turin representing the best of their industry can lead to extraordinary results of international significance.

ISSpresso is a veritable technological and engineering jewel, able to deliver a perfect espresso in weightless conditions. A technological challenge that meets very stringent requirements, imposed by NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), in terms of technical functionality and safety.

This important scientific milestone and engineering achievement is also helping to improve our understanding of the principles of fluid dynamics and microgravity conditions, in addition to contributing to improving the quality of life of astronauts on the ISS.

Another record set by ISSpresso relates to its swift development time of approximately 18 months, far shorter than the average for space projects. The machine is so complex that it weighs about 25 kilograms since there are back-ups of all the critical components for safety reasons in accordance with the specifications agreed upon with ASI.

The innovative capsule system is able to prepare also a caffè lungo or hot beverages, such as tea, infusions and broth, so that food can also be rehydrated. Some of the solutions adopted have led to international patents, which will be useful both for future space missions and immediate terrestrial use.