A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station April 8 carried some important science research, hardware and crew supplies to the International Space Station.
It also carried something important to a group of culinary students from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia — a rice and beans entrée.
The team originally cooked up the rice and beans in 2015 for the first High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware, or HUNCH, Culinary Challenge. The recipe earned them a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they cooked for a panel of six astronauts at the Space Food Systems Laboratory.
Their dish, Jamaican rice and beans with coconut milk, ultimately beat out dishes from six other high school culinary teams to be added to an astronaut cookbook for preflight preparation, then cooked and processed for flight to the space station.
Prior to their trip to Johnson, the team cooked for a tasting panel at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton. Panel members included former astronaut Charlie Camarda and NASA’s Deputy Administrator for Education Roosevelt Johnson.
The team’s instructor, Delrose Adkinson, was happy to finally see her students’ dish leave Earth’s atmosphere and make it one big step closer to an astronaut’s growling stomach.
“It is exciting to have our food sent to the space station,” she said. “Because of their participation in the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge, my students learned a lot about nutrition in general and the nutritional needs of the crew of the space station. To quote the students’ personal note to the crew, ‘We hope you like our food!’ “