First food ever baked in space gets a home at the Smithsonian

The first food ever baked in space is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia — and it’s a chocolate chip cookie.

But, not just any chocolate chip cookie. The dough was provided by McLean-based Hilton, the same cookie dough used to baked the warm chocolate chip cookies given at check-in to guests at its DoubleTree hotels.

space cookie in an enclosed glass case
The first food cooked in space, a cookie, has made its way into the Smithsonian. (Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

The dough was a part of a payload sent to the International Space Station in 2019. It was baked in an experimental microgravity oven provided by Zero G Kitchen, which is also developing other appliances for potential use in space, including refrigerators and blenders.

The cookie was a part of an ongoing NASA study that is looking for ways to make extended space travel more pleasant for astronauts.

The DoubleTree Space Station cookie returned from orbit in 2020 for testing by food scientists at the Johnson Space Center.

Its stay at the Udvar-Hazy Center is temporary. It will move to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C., when its new building opens in 2026, and will be part of a new exhibit called “At Home in Space.”

DoubleTree claims its signature chocolate chip cookie recipe is a secret, developed in collaboration with DoubleTree chefs and Christie’s Cookies three decades ago. The cookies are also sold online.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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