Hidden Peppers: Jalapeños were First Peppers in Space

Did you know that jalapeños were intergalactic?

Jalapeños were the very first peppers in space which makes all the other peppers quite jealous.

The year was 1982 and the Space Shuttle Columbia was departing on NASA’s fifth space shuttle mission called STS-5. It was a five-day flight that departed on November 11 and landed on November 16.

The goal of the space mission was to deploy communication satellites into orbit. This was the first space mission that was in all aspects “operational” instead of “experimental”.

So now down to the spicy stuff….

Astronaut Sherwood “Woody” Spring used to grow jalapeños in his backyard. He was not going to be on this mission, but he gave his friend and fellow astronaut William B. Lenoir who was boarding the shuttle some of his freshly picked jalapeño peppers.

So there they were, those jalapeño peppers flying into outer space with the other astronauts, probably not knowing they were the first peppers in space.

So how did the astronauts like the jalapeños?

The mission log records indicated that Astronaut Lenoir reported back while in space “Tell Woody the jalapeños are outstanding!”

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a common request for Astronauts flying into space. The jalapeños are a great food to have in space as they have a longer “space” life and do not omit a strong odor. Some of the least requested fruits and vegetables in space are oranges and bananas because of their strong, lasting odor. The on-orbit shelf life for most fruits and vegetables is 2-3 days.


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