The First Corned Beef Sandwich in Space

By Will Smith

On March 23, 1965, two astronauts smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto the first manned Gemini flight. Whether or not it included mustard is unknown.

On March 23, 1965 Gus Grissom and John Young flew the first manned Gemini mission, Gemini 3. Just under two hours into the mission, something unexpected happened--a corned beef sando appeared. Young had smuggled the unauthorized sandwich onboard, and he and Grissom managed to share a few bites before it began to lose structural integrity and had to be stowed, lest the floating crumbs and bits of meat cause an electrical malfunction in the capsule.

Photo Credit: Flickr user jasonlam under a Creative Commons license.

While both astronauts were officially reprimanded, the corned beef sandwich incident didn't adversely impact their careers. Gus Grissom was slated to be the first astronaut to walk on the moon before he perished in the Apollo I fire. John Young went on to have the longest career as an astronaut. He was the ninth man on the moon, the first to drive the lunar rover, and commander of two Space Shuttle missions, including the orbiter's inaugural flight.