Turkeys in Space

While we all know turkeys can’t fly, did you know they’ve been to outer space!

1973: The First Thanksgiving to take place in Outer Space occurred aboard Skylab, which was the United State’s first space station. The 3 man crew, Jerry Carr, Bill Pogue, and Ed Gibson arrived to Skylab six days before Thanksgiving.

The crew spent the majority of Thanksgiving replacing film in the solar study cameras, repairing equipment and various other tasks, before enjoying their holiday meal. Obviously their Turkey looked nothing like our traditional golden brown, roasted turkey. 

In fact, scientists at NASA continuously searched for ways to keep meals healthy and satisfy the astronauts. Luckily, the crew were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, that was appetizing and not freeze-dried. NASA introduced, “wetpacks”.  The “wetpack” meal was developed by the military and by far more delicious than their typical freeze-dried food. 

While the 1973 Skylab mission was the first Thanksgiving in space for the U.S. there have been many instances that turkeys have been in space. 

During the 1968, Apollo 8 mission to the moon, the astronauts found themselves 200,000 miles from home on Christmas Eve. The astronauts found 3 special holiday meals in their food locker. All wrapped in foil and tied with red and green ribbons. The meals contained real turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce by using the “wetpacks” to truly give the astronauts a delicious meal.

Turkey packed in gravy, became one of the regular menu options for astronauts on Apollo Missions 11 through 16. 

While we’ve come a long way in space travel and improved food from dry cubes or squeeze tubes, NASA claims their space shuttles still are not equipped with ovens, though, the astronauts do have a convection oven to warm pre-cooked food! 

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