Boeing’s Starliner has made history by successfully docking with the International Space Station (ISS) on its first crewed test flight. Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams embarked on a week-long mission, carrying scientific instruments, essential supplies, and a unique cultural touch from Williams.

Sunita Williams, an Indian American astronaut and the first woman to pilot a test flight of an orbital spacecraft, has once again infused her journey with a taste of India. Known for carrying sacred Hindu texts and an idol of Lord Ganesh on previous missions, Williams has added a culinary delight to her cargo this time: fish curry. NASA confirmed to NDTV that the astronaut will enjoy this traditional dish, ensuring the flavors of home are present in the cosmos.

Williams previously shared samosas, a popular Indian snack, with her crewmates, though NASA noted that samosas are not part of this mission’s menu. Instead, the veteran astronaut’s choice of fish curry continues the tradition of astronauts carrying culturally significant items to space, providing comfort and a connection to Earth. This tradition dates back to the early days of space exploration, with Buzz Aldrin bringing communion wafers and wine on Apollo 11 and other astronauts taking items like dirt from Yankee Stadium and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber.

Alongside fish curry, Williams’ personal cargo on the Starliner included dog tags for her two Labrador retrievers and colorful socks inspired by retired astronaut Shannon Lucid.

Food in space serves not only as sustenance but also as a morale booster and a means of cultural exchange. Astronauts often bring dishes that hold cultural significance, adding variety and a sense of home to their diet. The ISS has seen an array of culinary diversity, from sushi and macarons to satay, kimchee, pizza, freshly baked cookies, and even espresso.