Which bright-spark decided that orange-flavoured sugar powder + water = juice?
The drink mix was created in 1957 by a food scientist at General Foods Corporation called William Mitchell (who also invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, a form of instant-set Jell-O, and other convenience foods).
Tang was first marketed in powdered form in 1959 as a breakfast drink packed with vitamin C that “you don’t squeeze, unfreeze, or refrigerate.”
The powdered drink was used by early manned NASA space flights and, when astronaut John Glenn conducted eating experiments aboard Friendship 7 in 1962, Tang was selected for the menu.
It was also used during some Gemini flights and has been carried aboard numerous space shuttle missions. As a result, General Foods began marketing the powder as a “space-age drink”.
Needless to say, the advertising was effective. Tang sales shot through the roof and became one of the best-selling drinks of its day.
In 2013, Buzz Aldrin – the second man to walk on the moon – finally answered the question many were thinking: Did astronauts actually drink Tang while in space? He said yes, but they didn’t enjoy it. The never-subtle Aldrin exclaimed to anyone within earshot, “Tang sucks.”