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Astronaut Foods celebrates 50 years of out-of-this-world treats

June 27, 2024

Media Contact

Alexa McRoberts Verde Brand Communications

BOULDER, Colo. (June 27, 2024) – Do you remember your first time biting into crunchy, creamy Astronaut Ice Cream? Us too! This year, Astronaut Foods is over the moon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Astronaut Ice Cream. This out-of-this-world treat has delighted taste buds and captured imaginations since its launch in 1974.

Originally developed alongside NASA to bring a taste-of-space to Earth, Astronaut Ice Cream has become a beloved snack for kids, families, and dreamers seeking a taste of the cosmos. Freeze-dried and packed with flavor, it has earned its place in the hearts of many as a symbol of innovation, curiosity, and the enduring spirit of exploration.

Astronaut Foods is proud to be in its 3rd generation of family ownership with the Smith Family. In 1974, American Outdoor Products was already an established leader in the outdoor industry thanks to Astronaut Foods’ sister brand, Backpacker’s Pantry, maker of gourmet freeze-dried adventure meals. Over the past 50 years, Astronaut Foods has offered a wide range of unique products including freeze-dried ice cream balls, Astronaut cheese pizza, and fries, as well as collaborations, such as with Kellogg’s cereal in the 1990s offering a free ice cream sandwich with the purchase of a box of Raisin Bran. To learn more about Astronaut Ice Cream’s history of out-of-this-world flavors and memories, check out this blog post.

To honor this milestone, Astronaut Foods is planning an exciting array of campaigns and promotions throughout the year. Earlier this year, the team released Solar Eclipse glasses for the April 8th Total Solar Eclipse and put together a Space Food Survival Kit, which features one of each of Astronaut Food’s offerings; 4 ice cream sandwich flavors and 4 freeze-dried fruit packs. From limited-edition packaging to 50th-anniversary commemorative shirts and other swag, giveaways, activations, limited-edition product launches, and more, the brand looks forward to continuing to celebrate and reflect on half a century of space food evolution.

Additionally, as part of the celebration, Astronaut Ice Cream will be partnering with space-themed organizations and educational institutions to inspire the next generation of space explorers.

Earlier this year, Astronaut Foods earned the Authenticated™ trustmark, a recognition that underscores our commitment to quality educational experiences through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

In June, the company led an educational session for cadets in the Azimuth Summer Space Program as part of the United States Air Force Academy on freeze-dried food technology and space exploration. Educational initiatives like these offer a unique blend of fun and learning, providing a taste of space and science.

“We’re immensely proud to be celebrating half a century of Astronaut Ice Cream,” said Ron Smith, co-owner and founder of American Outdoor Products. “When we introduced Astronaut Ice Cream, it was a groundbreaking concept. The idea of ice cream that doesn’t melt was initially met with skepticism. In fact, our partners initially showed little interest and only agreed to take it on a consignment basis.

However, as people experienced it, Astronaut Ice Cream quickly became one of the best-selling products in museums, science centers, and gift shops across the U.S. It has withstood the test of time, proving its enduring appeal and becoming a beloved treat for generations.”

Astronaut Food looks forward to the next frontiers of space food and space travel and is excited to see what the next 50 years bring for the family-owned, Boulder-based company. To learn more about the history of food in space, please visit

For more information on Astronaut Foods, please visit

About Astronaut Foods

Founded in 1974 in conjunction with NASA and based in Boulder, Colorado, Astronaut Foods is the original source for freeze-dried ice cream — an out-of-this-world treat. Today, the company sells freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches and freeze-dried fruit. Astronaut Foods can be found in museums, toy shops, amusement parks and outdoor stores all across North America, Europe, and Asia. Additionally, Astronaut Foods is dedicated to supporting people and organizations whose goal is to push the boundaries of space exploration and discovery. For more information and a complete list of products, visit

About American Outdoor Products

American Outdoor Products (AOP) is a food manufacturer located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, CO. Established in 1951, American Outdoor Products remains an independent, privately held, family-owned, and operated company distributing products throughout the world. Inspired by a passion for unique cuisine and exciting adventures, the company produces Backpacker’s Pantry, adventure food for the outdoors; Astronaut Foods,

out-of-this-world novelty treats; and Colorado Spice, all-natural and organic artisan spice blends. To learn more, visit: