Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Tang is a sweet and tangy, orange-flavored, non-carbonated soft drink from the United States. Named after the tangerine, the original orange flavored Tang was formulated by William A. Mitchell for General Foods Corporation in 1957 and first marketed (in powdered form) in 1959.

It was initially intended as a breakfast drink, but sales were poor until NASA began using it on Gemini flights in 1965 (researched at Natick Soldier Systems Center), which was heavily advertised. Since that time, it has been associated with the U.S. manned spaceflight program, so much so that an urban legend emerged that Tang was invented for the space program.

Tang was famously used by the NASA Gemini space program. A NASA engineer working with the Gemini Space Program on a life-support module explained the story of how and why it was used. Paraphrased:

"... There was a particular component of the Gemini life support-system module which produced H2O (water) among other things. This was a byproduct of a recurring chemical reaction of one of the mechanical devices on the life-support module. The astronauts would use this water to drink during their space flight. The problem was, the astronauts did not like the taste of the water because of some of the byproducts produced, which were not harmful of course. So, they added Tang to make the water taste better ..."

Tang is most commonly served as a cold drink, although some people prefer to heat it or add it to smoothies. It can be mixed with Jim Beam bourbon to make a cocktail called "Moon Beam".[citation needed]

The inventor of Tang, William A. Mitchell, also invented Pop Rocks.

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