We have heard that preparing food which will be safe, nutritious, and tasteful for crews of aerospace vehicles is a complex problem. Solving it requires contributions by food technologists, nutritionists, psychologists, and engineers. The previous speakers have discussed the status of current and planned food systems for space travel, the military (U. S. Navy, Army, and Air Force), and the airlines. Each has distinct problems, but common goals - to make food more attractive in appearance, more tasteful, more nutritious, and more manageable. In this final session, we will coordinate the views of engineers about equipment, of the systems integrators who have the task of providing the hardware for preparing the food, and of those whose functions include integrating the processed food and preparation hardware within the vehicles.
As much as possible, food should resemble that to which the crew is accustomed. It is obvious that the best food management system would be a kitchen in which food preparation could start from a basic stock of conventional foods and there could be relatively free choice of the composition of an individual's diet. Since this is not possible nor practicable in limited space, it is important that experts in all of the disciplines represented here cooperate so that deviation from the "normal" diet can be minimal and the physical form of the food can be sufficiently acceptable not to compromise the mission.
We hope that in this session one can identify research needed on conventional food, primarily in processing, preparation, and packaging of foods, and on system design to satisfy the requirements of vehicle constraints and environment. (I would like to invite the speakers to modify their papers, if they wish, as a result of discussions during this session. ) In the case of some vehicles these requirements must not be in conflict with maximum acceptability of the food and its stability at possible temperature extremes. We as engineers can contribute to the solutions of problems of safe storage, minimum packaging volume, preparation, and ease of handling when in use.
I would like to cite two examples in which engineers have assisted the food technologist. Several years ago an edible soluble packaging film made from a new type of corn grown in Nebraska (ref. 1) was developed commercially. This new film is chemically produced from highly amylose starch. The film is unusual in that it is soluble in either hot or cold water and is a digestible food item. It also meets the  most rigid food packaging standards. Another food packaging technique with market potential is aerosol dispensing. Food packaging has been encouraging, but the use of aerosol cans for processed foods appears extremely limited at this time, because of volume and safe storage problems.
In May 1963, AMRL through the General American Transportation Corp. completed a feasibility study of methods for heating foods during aerospace flight (ref. 2). Some of the methods considered included induction and dielectric heating and an internal resistance heating probe within the food container. As a result of laboratory evaluation it recommended that the internal-probe technique be developed along with the necessary food container. It concluded that a three-container food warmer based upon this technique would weigh approximately 4 lb and have an overall efficiency greater than 75 percent. The food containers developed for this technique should contain an internal pocket for accommodating the internal heating probe. The solution to this requires cooperation of the vehicle and the food processing engineers.
A microwave oven for the household will shortly be mass produced and may be in wide use by the mid 1970's. This will necessitate preparing fully cooked products and packaging them in suitable containers for microwave heating. The aerospace industry has been a leading proponent of this new product development program and needs the cooperation of the processing industry. Our speakers this afternoon will address themselves to this technical area.
Joseph N. Pecoraro
1. Anon.: Food and Drug Packaging. Magazines for Industry, Inc., Nov. 9, 1967. 2. Anon.: Methods of Heating Foods During Aerospace Flight. TDR No. AMRLTDR-63-135, May 1963.