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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Pizza sets new delivery record
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov
Yuri Usachov had to make do with salami as pepperoni did not have the necessary shelf life
The US restaurant chain Pizza Hut has announced that it has become the first company in the world to deliver a pizza to outer space.

Last month Yuri Usachov, one of the Russian cosmonauts living on the International Space Station (ISS) ate a pizza that the company had sent to him.

Taking much longer than the usual 30 minutes, the pizza rode aboard a Russian rocket used to resupply the ISS.

Dennis Tito
Nasa was furious over Dennis Tito's space trip

The Pizza Hut chain said it paid the Russian space agency about $1m (700,000) for the promotional stunt, including footage of Mr Usachov flashing a thumbs-up after eating the pizza, and for pasting the chain's logo on a rocket last year.

Spending a long time in space has the effect of deadening the taste buds, so extra salt and spices were added to the pizza.

And salami had to be used as pepperoni lacked the necessary shelf life, growing mouldy.

Unusual customers

Some US astronauts have requested pizza after returning from space, but apparently none have eaten a slice during a mission.

The company is no stranger to making deliveries in bizarre circumstances - in 1991 they delivered pizzas to Boris Yeltsin and his supporters, who had prevailed over an attempted coup.

When food supplies dwindled in the Russian Parliament building, Mr Yeltsin called Pizza Hut delivery.

The publicity stunt however, may antagonise Russia's American counterparts on the ISS.

Nasa objected strongly when last month American space tourist Dennis Tito spent six days on the ISS, having paid a fee of $20m (14m) to the Russian space programme.

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