Wine Cellar in Space: 12 Bottles Arrive for Year of Aging

James Marshall
November 5, 2019

To celebrate the 19th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew to live aboard the International Space Station, NASA has sent a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft to the outer space outpost to aid in research for long-term space missions, the agency reported in a press release on Saturday.

The red Bordeaux will age for a year up there before returning to Earth where researchers will study how weightlessness and space radiation affect the ageing process of the space-aged wine.

When Cygnus, dubbed the S.S. Alan Bean, arrives at the space station on Monday, November 4, Expedition 61 astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA will use the space station's robotic arm to capture Cygnus, and NASA's Andrew Morgan will monitor telemetry.

Michael Lebert, the experiment's scientific director, told Sky Newsthat wine was ideal for space study as it is made with yeast and involves a chemical processes.

The spacecraft launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Saturday morning carrying almost 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo and is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 4:10 a.m. Monday, with coverage of its approach and arrival to be streamed live on NASA Television and the agency's website. Each bottle was packed in a metal canister to prevent breakage.

Universities across Europe are involved in the Space Cargo Unlimited experiment, a Luxembourg startup.

The space-aged wine will be compared to Bordeaux wine aged on Earth.

Nicolas Gaume, chief executive and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited, called the experiment a "once-in-a-lifetime adventure".

The Cygnus spacecraft for this space station resupply mission is named in honor of NASA astronaut Alan Bean.

Also on board is an oven for baking chocolate chip cookies and carbon fibre samples used by Lamborghini in its super cars. According to the company, aside from studying the effects of microgravity on the manufacturing procedure of products, the CommuBios experiment aims to determine the deeper impact of space on certain properties of food items and beverages.

This was not the first wine that has arrived in orbit.

A French astronaut took along a bottle of wine aboard shuttle Discovery in 1985, which remained corked in orbit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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