Image: All Nippon Airways

APEX Insight: This summer, space is the place. Two major airlines are providing in-flight meals that are out-of-this-world.

In honor of Japan’s Space Day and Sky Day, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have teamed up to serve space food on flights between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Sure, NASA described the earliest versions of space food as “a testament to [astronauts’] fortitude,” but culinary technology has really made the grade since then—tubes of goo squeezed from toothpaste tubes have given way to zero-G gourmet meals. From September 12–20, passengers in all classes of service can dine on dishes, such as beef curry, that have been designed and packaged to be consumed in microgravity.

Rounding out the out-of-this-world experience is space travel-themed in-flight entertainment content, including a message from Japanese astronaut (and former ANA pilot) Takuya Onishi. Should you stop by the ANA lounge at Narita International Airport’s Terminal 1, Satellite 5, you can grab a piece of space gum.

“ANA is driven by a bold and inspiring vision of the future of flight,” – Toyoyuki Nagamine, ANA Holdings

“ANA is driven by a bold and inspiring vision of the future of flight,” said Toyoyuki Nagamine, member of the board, senior executive vice-president, ANA Holdings Inc., in a press release. “Astronauts exemplify bold and inspiring actions. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate these accomplishments and share a fun experience with our valued customers.”

Japan’s Space Day, which commemorates JAXA astronaut Mamoru Mohri’s first space mission, was established on September 12, 1992. Sky Day, which falls on September 20, was designated in the same year to mark the 40th anniversary of the resumption of Japanese civil aviation.

A Taste of Home When You’re Far Away

Lufthansa is also launching a space-fare campaign. In celebration of German astronaut Alexander Gerst’s six-month stint as commander of the International Space Station, the airline began serving space food to business-class passengers aboard long-haul flights out of Germany this summer. Though they’ll be flying a few hundred miles closer to Earth than Gerst, Lufthansa passengers can dine on the same food he had requested as a special treat for his six-month stay in orbit: Chicken ragout with mushrooms. As was Gerst’s meals, Lufthansa’s space food is crafted by LSG Sky Chefs.

Now, if only we can get some space coffee for those patches of rough air.

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.