Smithsonian Museum displays Doubletree by Hilton's baked-in-space chocolate chip cookie

Cookie baked in space is preserved and can be seen by Smithsonian visitors

DoubleTree by Hilton’s signature chocolate chip cookie became the first-ever food baked in space aboard the International Space Station in 2019. 

It earned a place in space history in partnership with Zero G Kitchen and Voyager Space.

Now, the historic baked treat has returned to Earth and the cookie has been donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. 

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Here's a deeper dive into the display.

What’s the backstory?

The idea for the cookie in space was sparked in 2018, Shawn McAteer, brand leader at DoubleTree by Hilton, based in McLean, Virginia, told FOX Business. 

International Space Station

The International Space Station with Earth in the background. DoubleTree by Hilton’s signature chocolate cookie became the first-ever food baked in space aboard the International Space Station in 2019.? (NASA/SWNS / SWNS)

"Following a tweet from DoubleTree by Hilton to Elon Musk, just after SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster into space [in July 2018], DoubleTree by Hilton asked if Spaceman, the spacesuit-wearing mannequin ‘driving' the car, wanted a signature, warm DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie for his trip," said McAteer. 

Musk did not respond to the tweet — but Zero G Kitchen did, said McAteer.

Hilton became the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard?the International Space Station.?

"At the time, they were creating an oven with Nanoracks (now Voyager Space) that could bake raw ingredients in space. And they invited DoubleTree by Hilton to have its cookie [as] the first food baked on board the International Space Station."

From there, the partnership began.

Chocolate chip cookies

"The aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies [finally] wafted through the space station — adding a reminder of the simple joys of home to an experiment designed to make long-duration space flight more hospitable." (iStock / iStock)

In 2019, Hilton became the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard the International Space Station when astronauts baked DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies in the landmark science experiment, he said.

"[After] trial and error, the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies wafted through the space station — adding a reminder of the simple joys of home to an experiment designed to make long-duration space flight more hospitable," said McAteer. 

How was the cookie preserved?

"The frozen cookie arrived at the Smithsonian in 2021," said Jennifer Levasseur, PhD, museum curator at the Department of Space History in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  

"The cookie was defrosted and dehydrated over a two-month period in 2023."

"The Smithsonian team tested various preservation methods on test versions of the cookie for another year," she told FOX Business. 

Levasseur said preserving food in its original form isn’t very common. 

Hilton hotel

Managed by Hilton Worldwide, DoubleTree by Hilton is an American hotel chain. (Robert Alexander/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"The cookie was defrosted and dehydrated over a two-month period in 2023. The fats in the cookie keep it together," she said. 

To prevent molding, the cookie is now inside a chamber with nitrogen in place of oxygen.

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"And, we have silica inside to keep the environment dry, as well as a small oxygen sensor in case the case seal fails," she said. 

"We are thrilled to display DoubleTree by Hilton’s chocolate chip cookie as the first-ever food baked in space by astronauts."

How to see a piece of history

The treat will be on display now through 2025 at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center, at 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, in Fairfax County, Virginia. 

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Entrance is free for all guests. 

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The cookie will then become part of a new exhibit, At Home in Space, expected to open at the museum’s new building in Washington, D.C., in 2026.  

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle

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