Japanese Space Food a Hit in Orbit

Japanese Space Food a Hit in Orbit
JAXA astronaut Takao Doi (center), station commander Peggy Whitson and shuttle commander Dominic Gorie speak with Japanese dignitaries from the entrance of Japan's new Kibo storage module aboard the International Space Station on March 19, 2008. (Image credit: NASA TV.)

HOUSTON - When visiting someone?s house - even in space -bring food. That was Japanese astronaut Takao Doi?s motto and his country?sorbital eats are apparently a hit aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Doi, a veteran spaceflyer who is helping deliver the first segmentof Japan?s massive Kibo laboratory to the ISS, packed three types of Japanesenoodles, some salmon and steamed rice for his crewmates aboard the shuttle Endeavourand space station.

?Actually, the Japanese food was great, especially after beingup here for five months,? station commander Peggy Whitson told Japanese Prime Minister YasuoFukuda late Wednesday. ?Takaowas kind enough to bring us chopsticks to make it official.?

The 10 astronauts aboard the station and shuttle sat downtogether for a joint meal early Wednesday, where they sampled Doi?s Japanesetreats.

?It was particularly good to have something different,? saidWhitson, who is nearing the end of a six-month stint as the station?sExpedition 16 commander. ?It was very tasty.?

Doi launched toward the ISS with six NASA astronauts aboardthe shuttle Endeavour on March 11 to deliver the space station?s JapaneseLogistics Pressurized module, a storage compartment for the Japan AerospaceExploration Agency?s (JAXA) tour bus-sized Kibo laboratory. He is also testing newJapanese space clothing, underwear and a boomerang in orbit.

The astronauts also swapped out one member of the station?screw and constructed a giant, Canadian-built maintenancerobot called Dextre during three spacewalks. Doi gave Fukuda and viewers inJapan a tour of the station?s new Japanese room.

?Doi-san, thank you for your hard work,? Fukuda told theJapanese astronaut.

The storage module is the first of JAXA?s three-segment Kibo(?Hope? in Japanese) lab, which is so massive it is being launched in pieces.The lab?s large, primary experiment module is set to launch in late May, with aporch-like external platform to follow next year.

"Thisis a Japanese home in space and we hope to utilize this,? Doi said of Kibo. ?Wehope everybody will utilize this in the future.?

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour's STS-123 mission live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sshuttle mission coverage and NASA TV feed.


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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.