Enough is enough!
I have put this post off long enough. Several times over the last few months it crossed my mind to post about Tang- the breakfast drink of the astronauts. Each time, I was confused because although Tang was created in the 50′s, it didn’t become a commercial success until the 60′s. So I dithered about should it be a 50′s post or a 60′s post. Dithering being what it is, the result was that I just put it out of mind altogether.
Then the last straw.
Then this week, Bob from Cantankerous Old Coots commented that Tang was one of the beneficial products developed under the US space program. I couldn’t wait any longer. It is time to clear the air of this slander. This myth has been circulated long enough. It is true that some of the NASA launches carried Tang but Tang was developed and marketed independently from the space program. It was pure marketing genius that got Tang attached to the space program and made it a popular drink for kids in the 60′s not the science and knowhow of NASA.
Finally the Truth.
So what is the real truth? Tang predated the space program by several years and it was created by a big American food company, not NASA. So what made kids believe that they could be just like the astronauts when they chugged their morning glass of Tang. It was nothing but marketing hype. Tang was actually invented in the late 50′s by researchers at General Foods but did not become popular until the 60′s largely because of the association with astronauts.
The original idea for Tang was a citrus y, vitamin enhanced breakfast drink. It only became associated with the space program because the recycled water in the Gemini program had an unpleasant taste. Flavorings were used to mask that taste and Tang was one products that NASA used. But Tang wasn’t the only one and Tang wasn’t used for every launch.
Tang is now owned by Kraft Foods which still makes several versions of the product.
My Tang experience
When I was growing up, my mother bought Tang and my brothers and I happily mixed it up and drank it. It was easier than mixing up frozen concentrated orange juice which was messy and separated in the refrigerator. We thought it was cool to mix the powder with water. It didn’t taste very good but neither did it taste bad and we were confident that it was good for us because the astronauts drank it.
Gradually the excitement over the space program died and Tang stopped being a part of my consumption.