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Kimchi to Go to the Final Frontier

Posted February. 26, 2008 03:21,   


“Starship Kimchi: a Bold Taste Goes Where It Has Never Gone Before.”

The New York Times said Sunday that Russian space authorities have approved Korea’s traditional condiment kimchi as space food after a series of complicated tests. This makes Korea the third country to have food approved for astronauts, along with the United States and Russia.

Ten other Korean foods including hot pepper paste, bean-paste soup and fruit punch have also won a stamp of approval from The Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russia’s leading think tank for space biology and medicine.

Korea Aerospace Research Institute said, “In space, unexpected circumstances such as drastic temperature fluctuations or radiation exposure could occur, so we developed a technology to delay the fermentation of kimchi by one month.”

“The key was to lower the level of bacteria, while retaining its unique taste, color and texture.”

The New York Times said it is hard to overstate kimchi’s importance to Koreans. When Koreans pose for a picture, they say “kimchi.” In the 1960s, President Park Chung-hee wrote to U.S. President Lyndon Johnson that Korean troops were miserable because of lack of kimchi. Johnson then financed the delivery of canned kimchi to the battlefield.

Ko San, who will be the first Korean in space, said he will use kimchi to foster cultural exchanges. He plans to prepare a Korean dinner in the space station on April 12 to celebrate the 47th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space.

Ko will take off April 8 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He will return April 19 after conducting scientific experiments at the International Space Station.