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Thanksgiving Feast for International Space Station Crew

CBSNews -- American astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio are among the crew of six that will spend this Thanksgiving on board the International Space Station.
CBSNews -- American astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio are among the crew of six that will spend this Thanksgiving on board the International Space Station.

Thanks to a bit of preplanning by NASA’s team of food scientists, Hopkins and Mastracchio will be sharing a holiday feast with their crewmates.

Their Thanksgiving dinner will include many of the traditional fixings, from turkey and gravy to cornbread dressing and blueberry cobbler. 

While the meal may sound traditional, the space-age preparation is anything but. 

In an interview with CBSNews.com, Dr. Vickie Kloeris, head of the space station food system, explained that readying the meals for space is a year-round process that involves freeze-drying, canning, and thermostabilization to keep the food edible despite months without refrigeration.

Before the astronauts lift off, they can request nine bonus foods to be added to the usual menu. When astronaut Tom Marshburn journeyed to the station before Christmas last year, he brought along cranberry sauce for the rest of his crew.

“It’s all very tasty,” Marshburn told CBSNews.com. “We’d open it up, dig your spoon it, and it just, you can do it upside down, sideways, anyway you want.”

Holiday dinners in space present another challenge that sets the experience apart. The astronauts have to use duct tape and Velcro to keep the dishes on the table -- otherwise they'd float away in zero gravity.

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