A food galley has been designed for the crew compartment of the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter. The rationale for the definition of this design was based upon assignment of priorities to each functional element of the total food system. Principle priority categories were assigned in the following order: food quality, nutrition, food packaging, menu acceptance, meal preparation efficiency, total system weight, total system volume, and total power requirements. Hence, the galley was designed using an “inside-out” approach which first considered the food and related biological functions and subsequently proceeded “outward” from the food to encompass supporting hardware. The resulting galley is an optimal design incorporating appropriate priorities for trade-offs between biological and engineering constraints. This design approach is offered as a model for the design of life support systems.