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Chinese food for Chinese astronauts
( 2003-10-15 17:25) (Xinhua)

While flying China's first spacecraft, the astronaut will enjoy himself over a rich variety of Chinese food,Xinhua has learned.

The recipes for the astronault include rice cooked with nuts, dates and other delicacies, spicy and sour shredded meat and diced chicken meat. The astronaut will also serve himself with a drink of medicinal herbs and tonics after a meal, according to a top space official.

Su Shuangning, head of the team for developing the astronaut support system, said that the astronaut will have three meals a day while flying in the outer space. "We planned the recipes in a scientific way, in such a way as to ensure that the food will be nutritious enough for space missions while tasting good," he added.

The so-called "space food", food consumed by astronauts while in the outer space, should be limited in quantity and size but highly nutritious while producing no residue.

"It must suit the astronaut's physiological changes in the weightless situation," he said, adding that space flight results in loss of calcium in bones, atrophy of muscles, and a drop in red blood cell count.

The Chinese astronaut will have a choice of 20 plus types of food. In their early space flights, Soviet and American astronauts had liquid or semi-solid food in toothpaste tube-like container, and ate in a mouth-to-mouth manner.

Astronauts now can eat roughly the same way as when they are on earth. According to Su, China-made space food is largely in one- bite size, consisting of meat, fish or dessert. They are coated with an edible protective covering for the convenience of the astronaut who can eat one piece at each bite in order not to produce residue that may keep sputtering in the capsule.

Su also said that Chinese scientists are experimenting with cultivation of vegetables in space stations that can be eaten without cooking.

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