Yesterday morning, Italy’s first female astronaut arrived at the International Space Station, carrying — well, more accurately, clutching in her arms like a first-born child — the first zero-g Certified Italian Espresso coffee machine. The machine, called the ISSpresso, was created by a couple of Italian companies after another Italian astronaut returned from the space station in 2012 and complained about the lack of good coffee while in Earth orbit. This might just seem like a very costly first-world frivolity at the expense of real science, but the introduction of a coffee machine to the ISS isn’t just for fun: The good times that will be enjoyed over a hot plastic pouch of perk are expected to go a long way towards reducing the extreme isolation and stress that astronauts experience aboard the ISS.
The ISSpresso was developed by Lavazza and Argotec — both based out of Turin, Italy, with the former being one of the top coffee machine companies in Europe. The machine, which weighs in at a bulky 20 kilograms (44 lbs), was delivered by the three Expedition 42/43 astronauts — including Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy’s first female astronaut.