Flickr Creative Commons/Brian
Space-themed novelty items were popular through the latter half of the 20th century and into the early 2000s.
Some have been discontinued, but many, like Tang, Moon Boots, and freeze-dried foods, are still around today in limited form.
Here are a few of the space-themed items that once captured the national imagination — and our wallets.
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World Space Week is upon us.
In honor of the annual UN-backed holiday, which runs from October 4 to October 10 this year, Business Insider has compiled a list of some of the lesser known items brought to us by the great space race.
Adults who grew up in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, during the heyday of the space race and NASA’s Space Shuttle program, are probably familiar with a bevy of space-themed products capitalizing on the national fervor around the US space program.
From Moon Boots to dehydrated ice cream, these space-themed novelty items were once all the rage.
And though some have been discontinued, the memory of their absurdity lives on.
And who knows, perhaps they’ll be revamped and available once again to the public as the next great space race gears up in our time.
Here are six space-themed oddities you may have forgotten about.
1960s kids might remember snacking on Space Food Sticks.
If you’re of the silent or baby-boomer generations, you might remember Space Food Sticks.
These caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter-flavored snacks had their origins in the space food cubes developed by the Pillsbury Company for a NASA mission in 1962. Space Food Sticks hit grocery store shelves in 1969, according to General Mills’ history of the product.
While they may not have the same branding anymore, in a sense, Space Food Sticks never went away. They live on in the form of now ubiquitous energy bars made by dozens of food manufacturers. The brand faded by the 1980s but was purchased and subsequently re-released in 2006 to science and space centers and novelty shops.
Tang drink mix is associated with 1960s space travel, even though it wasn’t actually designed for astronauts.
Flickr Creative Commons/Brian
Tang is probably the novelty product most associated with the space program, with many people thinking it was developed by or for NASA.
That’s actually a common misconception, according to the agency itself.
The powdery drink mix was, however, forever immortalized when John Glenn took the drink on the Friendship 7 orbital spacecraft in 1962, and has been associated with the space program ever since — even though Buzz Aldrin hated the stuff, according to NPR.
Given the product’s notoriety, it might be hard to argue we’ve forgotten about it. Although, when was the last time anyone you knew tossed back a cold, refreshing Tang?
Believe it or not, though, the drink lives on internationally, making $900 million annually for producer Mondelez International. It’s most popular in Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, according to the company.
Moon Boots captured the imaginations of avid skiers and snow bunnies in the late ’70s.
Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images
Developed by outdoors company Tecnica as aprés-ski footwear, Moon Boots came into vogue at the height of the Cold War, and have occasionally popped up again over the decades whenever a retrofuturist fashion trend resurfaces, according to The New York Times.
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