A lot of people eat at Taco Bell when they’re high, but only the best of the best get to slam a fourth meal at 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. That’sbecause Taco Bell is the official tortilla provider for NASA.
Tortillas first made their out-of-atmosphere debut in 1985 when Mexican scientist Rodolfo Neri Vela requested to have them included as part of his provisions aboard NASA Space Shuttle Mission STS-61-B, according to the Instagram account First We Feast. Once in orbit, the crew noticed that Vela’s tortillas had one big advantage over bread: They didn’t make any instrument-clogging crumbs.
Tortillas soon became a space staple. NASA originally used fresh tortillas from a local restaurant, but in order to supply extended-duration missions, the agency began developing its own shelf-stable tortillas. When NASA realized that its tortillas started to turn bitter after about six months, they realized it was time to call in the professionals. NASA now stocks its cargo holds with Taco Bell’s extended-shelf-life tortillas, which can stay good for up to one year.