Japanese rice cracker flying into space

JAXA certifies kakino tane as snack for astronauts



Kakino tane, a rice cracker certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a snack for astronauts.
Kakino tane, a rice cracker certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a snack for astronauts.

Kakino tane, a rice cracker, was recently certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a snack to be consumed by Japanese astronauts during their stay at the International Space Station (ISS). Originating from Niigata Prefecture, it is one of the most popular rice crackers in Japan. It was so named as it looks alike permission seed in shape. Now a new version has been developed as a pace food by Kameda Seika, a company based in the city of Niigata.



  Kameda Seika launched its project in 2014 and spent three years of research and development in hopes of helping astronauts improve the work efficiency during their long stay at the ISS by enjoying the taste and texture of Japanese food. Its newly developed product was certified as a Japanese space food in August.



  The product is officially sorted as “rice cracker mixed with peanut”. Each pack contains 35 grams, consisting of 60% of cracker and 40% of peanut. It is assured to remain fresh for a year and half, or four times longer than the commercially available version whose eat-by freshness date is four months.



 In order to get their products certified as a space food, producers are required to meet the criteria for space use. Kameda Seika has given various twists to its product to satisfy the requirements. The snack is contained on a 90 mm x 9 mm x 40 mm tray, whose cover and bottom are gilt with something like a fastener tape. The pack can be repeatedly opened and closed or fastened to a fixed place inside the cabin of the ISS. It keeps its content from flying off so that astronauts can easily eat it even in the gravity-free space.



  Kameda Seika’s kakino tane is not the sole Japanese space food certified by JAXA. The agency has so far endorsed 29 items produced by 13 companies. They include cooked rice, noodles, curry and fish. These make us feel the remote space is closer to us.


Written by: Yuto Yawata(八幡 侑斗)

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