RationsEditMost of the fleet ships are perpetually stocked with a sufficient amount of food provided by Mission Control. The Systems Alliance has a strict diet plan that is set to maximize physical survival across a long time period in deep space. However, there is actually a wide selection of foods to choose from. Frozen food includes most entrees, vegetable, and dessert items. Refrigerated food includes fresh and freshtreated fruits and vegetables, extended shelf-life refrigerated foods, and dairy products. Ambient foods include thermostabilized, aseptic-fill, shelf-stable natural form foods, and rehydratable beverages. Although each individual ship may allow their crew to create their own menu of alternate courses, the typical elements are the following:
- Beverages (B) - Freeze dried drink mixes (coffee or tea) or flavored drinks (lemonade or orange drink) are provided in vacuum sealed beverage pouches. Coffee and tea may have powdered cream and/or sugar added depending on personal taste preferences. Empty beverage pouches are provided for drinking water.
- Fresh Foods (FF)- Fresh fruit, vegetables and tortillas delivered by resupply missions. These foods spoil quickly and need to be eaten within the first two days of flight to prevent spoilage. These foods are provided as psychological support.
- Irradiated (I) Meat - Beef steak that is sterilized with ionizing radiation to keep the food from spoiling. NASA has special dispensation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use this type of food sterilization.
- Intermediate Moisture (IM) - Foods that have some moisture but not enough to cause immediate spoilage.
- Natural Form (NF) - Commercially available, shelf-stable foods such as nuts, cookies and granola bars that are ready to eat.
- Rehydratable (R) Foods - Foods that have been dehydrated by various technologies (such as drying with heat, osmotic drying and freeze drying) and allowed to rehydrate in hot water prior to consumption. Reducing the water content reduces the ability of microorganisms to thrive.
- Thermostabilized (T) - Also known as the retort process. This process heats foods to destroy pathogens, microorganisms and enzymes that may cause spoilage.
- Extended shelf-life bread products - Scones, waffles and rolls specially formulated to have a shelf life of up to 18 months.
Privately own contractor ships such as the Prometheus have far more luxurious culinary service. They are also equipped with more expensive technology that is able to bypass the need to process foods as much.
Each fleet tends to have their own unique personality.