Press Release

Omelets in Space: Students Compete to Feed Astronauts

By SpaceRef Editor
March 1, 2018
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If two teams of local high school students have anything to say about it, a Southwestern omelet or grits with garlic shrimp and gouda cheese will soon be enjoyed by astronauts for breakfast on the International Space Station.

The two teams are among more than 20 schools participating in a national competition to develop recipes for the space station astronauts. The teams, from the New Horizons Technical Education Center in Newport News, Virginia, and Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia, are battling for a spot in the final 10, which will compete at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in April.

The High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) Culinary Pre-Competition will be hosted at NASA’s Langley Research Center on 11 a.m. EST Monday, March 5.

Media who wish to cover the event should contact news chief Michael Finneran at 757-864-6110, or at, by 9 a.m. EST Monday, March 5 for credentials and entry to NASA Langley.

A panel of taste testers at Langley will rate the dishes on appearance, color, smell, flavor, texture and nutrition.

Teams with the highest scores from across the country will be invited to NASA Johnson for a final competition, where their work will be judged by Johnson food lab personnel, industry professionals, the space station program office, and astronauts. They’ll also be rated on a required research paper and presentation video.

The winning entree will be created by the NASA Johnson Food Lab and sent up to the space station for astronauts to enjoy.

This will be the third year that New Horizons Regional Education Center culinary teams have participated in the challenge, which was developed in 2014 to provide high school students the opportunity to design and create a new flavorful food for astronauts.

At the beginning of each school year, NASA reaches out to high school culinary programs to seek interest in the challenge. If a school is interested, its team must research food science and food processing using online information provided by NASA Johnson. The next step is a two-page paper describing what they’ve learned about food processing in microgravity.

In 2015, a culinary team from Phoebus High won the HUNCH Culinary Challenge and had their entrée, Jamaican rice and beans with coconut milk, included in an astronaut cookbook for preflight preparation to the ISS. Read more on their success at:

For more information about the HUNCH program, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.