For years, the downhome comfort food has been quite the incentive for
“Well,” Wayne Hale tweeted, “no beans today.”
Excluding storm derailments, NASA has tried to get the
Scarfing down a hearty bowl of
Why beans, one might ask?
Well, why not? With beans, everyone gets a chance to fire their engines.
With beans, everyone gets a chance to fire their engines.
The ritual began with NASA test director chief Norm Carlson, who brought one small crock of smoky, savory Northern beans for his staff in 1981. From then on, it was an important custom.
Eventually, the food services crew took on the bean-cooking responsibility. Hordes of workers would gather after each shuttle launch, spooning out hundreds of bowls from 54 gallons worth of bubbling cookers.
Carlson’s beans would take about eight hours to simmer, according to the recipe, which the space agency
After all, Jeremy Parsons, the deputy manager of exploration ground systems, told reporters the day before the second launch attempt that beans and cornbread would indeed be part of the post-launch party. And at 6 a.m. on Sept. 3, eight hours before the launch window opened, everything was still looking good to go.
The higher echelon has also wondered if NASA has lost a lot of good beans, but Jim Free, associate administrator for exploration systems development, admitted he really didn’t know beans about it. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist the pun.) When he walked out of the launch control center both days, he didn’t see or smell any evidence, which piqued his curiosity about what happens to all that food, he told Mashable.
“There was nothing out there,” Free said. “But I did have the same thought [about what happens to the beans] when I walked out of there.”
If the firing room is anything like it was in the 1980s, Hale might have an idea of what happened to them. Sometimes on scrub days, the beans, which had already been cooking for hours, “went into the freezer to wait for another countdown,” he wrote in his blog, aptly named
Whether they go in the freezer or
“Talk about inciting mass launch fever,” Hale wrote. “If some sociologist writes a paper about why the NASA launch team got in a hurry and launched when we shouldn’t have — and doesn’t mention the beans and cornbread — well, that paper just won’t be complete.”
With two false starts for Artemis and a couple of violent storms already under NASA’s belt, the beans could be getting a bit freezer-burned. Perhaps the agency will consider finding some new magic — or, maybe even a new magical fruit.