One of the challenges that faced the Apollo moon landing crews, and particularly the longer-stay missions of the later flights, was going through a full 7 hours of extra-vehicular activity in a locked pressure suit with only a single energy bar to eat.

enter image description here


It appears, though, that some pressurized suits now allow jet pilots to eat through a feeder tube. Specifically, in newer U2 spy planes, pilots can now have a range of flavours, and most importantly, eat multiple times during a flight.

enter image description here

PILOTS' TUBE FOOD used to be just mush. New formulations deliver lunch in texturized layers of flavors (bacon with hash browns!) that squirt into the feeding port.

Does this technology extend to a complete vacuum? Could future Moon or Mars (or whatever) explorers use this to extend their autonomy during EVAs? Is it being used now in Earth orbit? (Or are the EVAs simply not long enough to merit it?)

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ When the military says their food has texturized layers of flavor I would have my doubts from personal experience. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Feb 18, 2015 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


The EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) has a drink bag which velcros to the front interior of the suit. The bag comes in two different sizes 21 oz and 32 oz and it is crew choice as to which bag they fly. The bag has a drink tube with a valve which prevents free flow of water into the suit. The valve is opened when the crew sucks on the tube for water. Their food was provided by a fruit bar wrapped in an edible rice paper. The stick was stowed in a sleeve which is mounted to the neck area of the EMU. To eat, the crew bent their neck down and take a bite of the bar and slide it up, which set it up for their next bite. This food bar is no longer flown, as most of the astronauts preferred to eat prior to their spacewalk.

So yes, they do have something very similar to the pilot's tube food, I do not know if you could put anything other than water in the tube. I am not sure how much more research they have done on this. I guess it would be done at the point when astronauts opinions change (whereas right now they are wanting to eat prior to the EVA), but I think that with the current technology and the fact that they do have some tubed food on the ISS, that it could also expand to the EVA's.

Check out this link: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/faq/eva.html



  • $\begingroup$ While the links are great, it is good practice to summarize the linked content in the post. If resources are moved or deleted, the post will remain useful. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 19, 2015 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ Will do! I A lot of the first paragraph is directly from the link so I thought that was enough summation. I will try to be more clear about it in the future. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Kleigh
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't really see how this goes much beyond the Apollo-era systems. In particular, it does not allow for food or fluids to enter the helmet from outside the suit, as in the U2 pilot system, which is really the point of the question. $\endgroup$
    – E.P.
    Mar 30, 2015 at 12:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.