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Space Food Sticks: The 1970s NASA Snack To Plug The Gap

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Space Food Sticks are “a living monument to golden years of the Space Age”. So says the site dedicated to Space Food Sticks. And who are we to question the experts. If a stick of chemicals made decades ago is now alive, then good for it and good for science. If one of those things got loose in space, what price a colony of Space Food Sticks contacting alien life before humanity gets there? “Take me to The Pillsbury Company,” the aliens will demand on landing. Take me to see Dr. Howard Bauman, the foodologist who created the energy stick that “could slide into an airtight port located in an astronaut’s helmet to provide essential nutrition in case of an emergency” – such as plugging a pipe leak or sealing a crack in the spaceship’s superstructure. No need to chew when you can just unwrap the stuff and slap it over the space draught.


space sticks


And you too could taste the dream of “non-frozen balanced energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein” available in caramel, chocolate, malt, mint, orange and peanut butter, all enshrined in space-age foil.




Pillsbury bought space-age foods to the masses. Kids could eat like a man who had no other choice:



In 1973, a version of SFS made its way on the Skylab 3 mission. This is the NASA press release:

NASA space sticks


nasa space sticks


Very soon even women could eat the things:


space food






“You Carry Them… They Carry You”







By the mid 1970s, Space Sticks were just food sticks. Space foods just didn’t cut the cool:



Delicious! And why not wash it down with a glass of TANG, the drink for space dudes – with the added benefit of making your urine glow in the eternal darkness:

Although many people (wrongly) believe NASA invented Tang, the powdered orange drink mix does have a history that goes hand-in-hand with U.S. spaceflight. Tang was originally made by General Foods in 1957, but its popularity reached new heights when it was chosen to fly with John Glenn on Friendship 7 and on later Gemini Program missions.


  • Ishida Ayumi

    I remember these things! Tasted like crap; sorta like stale extra fluffy chocolate bars!

  • NGO

    Loved these things. Mom bought them for me once. After that, I had to secretly put them in the grocery cart. Sometimes that didn’t end so well.

  • SkeptiGal

    Yeah, mom got us this crap too. Probably cuz I said I wanted it. I was the space geek in the family. Texture was ok but the taste not so much.

  • Maggiemay

    I liked em.