Plants, Algae and Other Weird Green Stuff Just Arrived at the Space Station

“We’re using Veggie to answer questions of science about the types of plants we can grow in space for astronauts to eat,” Trent Smith, Veggie project manager at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida,

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Smoke billowed and flames lit up the predawn sky here as SpaceX successfully launched its 15th cargo-resupply mission on Friday (June 29). 

A Dragon spacecraft sat perched atop the company's final Block 4 Falcon 9, hitching a ride to orbit. Tucked inside was 5,900 lbs. (2,700 kilograms) of cargo, including some unique space food and special treats for the awaiting astronauts. 

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Historically, astronauts have consumed a specialized, planned diet of mostly packaged foods. But just like the rest of us, they like to change it up now and then. During a postlaunch briefing, space station program manager Kirk Shireman explained that frozen treats (including ice cream) as well as some blueberries ‘ direct from Texas ‘ were en route. [In Photos: SpaceX’s Dazzling Dragon Launch to Space Station]

As missions become longer, NASA wants to ensure that crews have access to fresh foods and that astronauts can grow their own. The reason behind this is twofold, NASA’s Veggie researchers said: It provides nutritional and psychological benefits to the crew and helps researchers understand what types of plants grow best in microgravity.’