This TV commercial became so wide spread in the 1960’s that some people started to believe the citrusy powder was invented by NASA’s space program.
But this is a myth. The most convincing evidence is that Tang was invented in 1957 by General Foods and wasn’t used by NASA until 1962.
Of course, heavily-circulated, full-color magazine ads like the following didn’t help dispell this misconception:
The truth is that Tang was adopted by the space program in an effort to make the water that was produced as a natural byproduct of the Gemini life-support system more palatable. Here’s a quote from a NASA engineer who knows the inside scoop:
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.
What’s suspicious is that Buzz Aldrin doesn’t remember having Tang on his trip to the moon. This shouldn’t dissuade you, however, from having a blast with Tang. Just make sure to mix it in your zero-g pouch if you happen to be in space.