Gastronomical delights on menu for space team

SAFE JOURNEY: A Russian Orthodox priest conducts a blessing in front of the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Picture: AFP
SAFE JOURNEY: A Russian Orthodox priest conducts a blessing in front of the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Picture: AFP

A French astronaut will join Russian and US counterparts blasting off today for the International Space Station,taking some Michelin-starred cuisine along to help celebrate in gastronomic style while in Earth’s orbit.

French space rookie Thomas Pesquet,38, will lift off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with veteran US and Russian colleagues Peggy Whitson and Oleg Novitsky, for a six month mission to the ISS.

It will be the former airline pilot’s first trip to space – and to mark the occasion he will bring along a selection of dishes by top French chefs Alain Ducasse and Thierry Marx, including beef tongue with truffled foie gras and duck breast confit.

“We will have food prepared by a Michelin-starred chef at the station,” the Frenchman, who is also taking a saxophone up with him, said.

“We have food for the big feasts: for Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays.

“We ’ll have two birthdays, mine and Peggy’s.”

Russia is the only country carrying out launches to the International Space Station, via its workhorse Soyuz rocket that uses the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Pesquet, Novitsky, and Whitson are scheduled to dock at the space station tomorrow.

Pesquet has trained for seven years for his first space flight, but his crew mates both have extensive experience.

Whitson, 56, is going on her third trip and holds the record for time in space for a woman.

She will assume command of the ISS after March next year.

Novitsky, 45, is going to the station for the second time.

Whitson, Nasa’s most experienced female astronaut, said the fancy French food would certainly be welcome.

“I think the thing I find the most challenging about space flights is the lack of variety of the food,” she said.

But above all she stressed the international cooperation embodied by the ISS.

“Quite the most important thing about it [ISS] is the demonstration of what people can do together,” she said.

Novitsky agreed. “The ISS is both a home and a place of work.

“It’s also a place for friendship, for showing to the world that we can work together and have good relationships,” he said.

The launch of the trio had been postponed by two days.
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