As the first company in Europe, Arla Foods has been approved as a partner for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nasa’s commercial centre for food research, FTCSC (Foods Technology Commercial Space Center). The task is to develop three dairy products for astronauts and cosmonauts working in space.
“We wish to enhance our image as a supplier of safe products with optimum nutritional value,” says Michael Stevns, Director of Innovation and Environment. “To develop food for space travel and live up to the rigorous demands imposed by Nasa is, of course, a stamp of quality.”
The three products are a cheese, a milk-based drink and a yoghurt with probiotica (living micro organisms with a beneficial effect on health). Although the research project will cover a five year period, the aim is for one of these products to be included in Nasa’s “Baseline Food List” – a menu from which astronauts select the food they want to eat while in space – within a year.
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Meals in space
NASA FTCSC News July 2000
“One of the most important health problems during space travel is that astronauts’ bone mass tends to decrease in space. We’re delighted to be co-operating with Arla Foods and we’re confident that the company’s endeavours in this field will be important to our work,” Dr. Tony Pometto, Director of Nasa FTCSC, stated in the organisation’s newsletter.
Besides osteopsathyrosis, astronauts may suffer from muscle, joint and intestinal problems during space travel – ailments often suffered by elderly people.
Michael Stevns believes that research into this type of product can also benefit the general food market.
Based adjacent to Iowa University, Nasa FTCSC carries out research into food products aimed at enabling humans to live in space. To achieve its objectives, the centre collaborates with a range of carefully selected companies.
Inside Arla Foods the project is known under the name of “Lacmos.” “Lac” is Latin for milk and “Mos” for “Cosmos.”