Lonely Planet Writer

You can now eat like an astronaut on this airline's flights

If you’ve always been fascinated by space, you might want to consider booking your flight with Lufthansa for the chance of an out-of-this-world meal. The German company is now serving the same food that astronauts eat on the International Space Station.

Lufthansa planes waiting at Frankfurt Airport. Image: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

Lufthansa will serve space-themed meals to its business class clients on long-haul flights for the entirety of the summer to celebrate astronaut Alexander Gerst’s six-month mission. Gerst is the first German to command the International Space Station, where he arrived in June 2018 via Russian Soyuz missile after having departed the cosmodrome of Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft leaves the cosmodrome at Baikonur for the ISS Expedition 56/57. Image: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images

Lufthansa’s catering group, LSG, was asked by the European Space Agency to create commander Gerst’s “bonus meals”. What’s a bonus meal? In its business class leaflet, Lufthansa describes it as: “unlike everyday meals, “bonus food” brings a little piece of home into space: it reminds the astronauts of family and friends, releases positive energy, and its consumption boosts the team’s motivation and morale over the course of a long mission.”

German astronaut Alexander Gerst before the launch. Image: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images

Every astronaut can request whatever food they’d like for these meals, and Gerst has chosen dishes from his native region of Swabia, in the south-west of Germany. So, Lufthansa’s clients will be able to enjoy cheese spaetzle with bacon and chicken ragout with mushrooms, just like Gerst, but almost 400 kilometres closer to Earth than him.

The spaetzle is a dish that can be found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. Image: Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post

“Anything is possible,” said LSG group experts when the ESA approached them to design commander Gerst’s meals. Food in space must follow certain rules, though, even if it’s come a long way from the cans and dried powders most people think of – it must be low on sodium, for one, have a shelf life of at least two years, and be calorie-balanced to a fault. But once those requirements are met, there are really no limits – NASA’s current menu features dishes like cordon bleu, Indian fish curry, and chocolate pudding.

The “space food” option will be available throughout July and August on all Lufthansa flights originating from Germany.