The Zero G
Description – The Zero G Kitchen Space Oven is a cylindrical-shaped insulated container designed to hold and bake food samples in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station. The oven allows food samples to be placed in a tray where they will be held steady inside the oven while baking occurs. A cooling rack is also integrated into the outside of the oven. The insulation and venting mechanisms allow the oven to operate safety in the controlled environment of the International Space Station. The oven design has passed all NASA safety reviews.
Build Site – At NanoRacks’ facility in Webster, Texas, in collaboration with Zero G Kitchen
Installation Site – In NanoRacks’ Frame 3, currently installed as part of the U.S. ISS National Lab within of the International Space Station
Date launched – November 2nd, 2019, aboard a NASA-ordered Northrup Grumman Cygnus cargo vehicle NASA cargo ship launching from Wallops Island, Virginia
Oven Interior Dimensions – Ø 4.2” X 8.8” length, for a total interior volume of 122 in^3 (approximately 2U)
Nominal Internal Temperature – 350 degrees F / 177 degrees C
Heating Method – Since convection is not possible or difficult in zero gravity, heating is accomplished through electric heating elements (similar to that found in a toaster oven), powered by electricity drawn from the International Space Station’s internal power system. Heating elements are placed such that a sufficient pocket of heat is created around the food sample.
Food Packaging – Silicone pouches, allowing a clear view of the contents. There are two 40-micron filters in in the silicone sheets to allow steam and hot air to escape, but also prevent cookie crumbs from escaping and potentially damaging filters or sensitive equipment on the Space Station.. Sample trays are made with an anodized aluminum frame to give them structure and allow them to be stowed securely in the oven and cooling rack during cooking operations.
Cooking Options – Custom trays already available to allow baking, future iterations to the trays and/or oven can be made to also provide grilling, pan cook, and griddle modes of cooking in a microgravity environment
Future Sample Flight Opportunities – At least 4 times per year, aboard commercial cargo transport