Amy Shira Teitel stated via her Vintage Space blog that Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin’s first meal eaten on the Moon was bacon, but four missions before and at least one after, astronauts still demanded their crispy, salty treat. Teitel stated that the history of the American space program walks hand in hand with the pork product and, although nowadays the breakfast must-have has been replaced by freeze-dried sausage patties, bacon was always on the astronauts’ food menu.
Apollo seven, the first manned mission had the least varied food menu, but astronauts enjoyed their salty, dry treat during breakfast. As astronauts began to demand more bacon in their menu, the pork product started gaining ground not only during breakfast, but also lunch, dinner and snacks. Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad was the first to observe that this serving was gradually disappearing and soon, astronauts started to prefer other dishes. However, bacon squares remained one of the first servings Armstrong and Aldrin had after landing at the Sea of Tranquility, along with sugar cookie cubes, peaches, pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee. Long before the astronauts’ meals included peach ambrosia and lobster bisque, along with about 70 other food items, astronauts demanded bacon cubes. Since the nutritionally balanced meals were assembled into approximately 2,500 calories, the salty treat became a key food in three out of four breakfasts.
Missions Change, the Treat Remains
Starting with Apollo seven, astronauts’ first meals on days one, five and nine consisted of eight squares of the dry and salty treat, peaches, cinnamon toasted bread cubes and breakfast drink, while other morning meals included Canadian Bacon and applesauce, cinnamon toasted bread cubes, strawberry cereal cubes and the customary breakfast drink.
The crew of Apollo seven reacted in a positive way regarding the pork product and Will Cunningham even described happiness as “a package of bacon squares on day ten.” Apollo eight also considered that breakfast would not be complete without the salty squares, so from the ninth mission on, astronauts were allowed to enjoy the pork product in meals other than breakfast. The crew served the treat in three out of four breakfasts, as part of lunch on the fourth and eighth day and dinner on days two, six and ten. Apollo nine was also the first mission to include bacon inside a lunar module, since astronauts demanded this product more often.
Apollo ten represented the end of an era for astronauts, because the servings started to be more varied, but the pork product was still on the menu. Apollo 11 replaced one breakfast containing bacon squares with sausage patties and, from then on, there was only one step until Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad asked himself what happened to his salty, dry treat. Apollo 16 and 17 didn’t consider the pork product an important part of the meal anymore, which proved that from the seventh mission until the 17th, bacon has become somewhat obsolete.
Nowadays, astronauts have many different food items from which to build meals, but during the United States’ most important space achievement, the serving demanded by people like Armstrong and Aldrin, which was also part of the first meal eaten on the Moon was bacon.
By Gabriela Motroc