SpaceX cargo Dragon splashdown off Florida coast expected Wednesday

James Marshall
January 13, 2021

With this, the International Space Station bids goodbye to a French wine that was literally stored from beyond any country. Since aged in outer space for more than a year, it is no ordinary champagne.

Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg startup behind the experiments, wanted the wine to age for a year in space.

"Our goal is to address the solution to how to have tomorrow's agriculture that is organic, healthy and able to feed humanity", said Nicholas Gaum, co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited. He claimed that "space was the key".

"Being French, it's part of life to have some good food and good wine.", he adds.

Because of climate change, agricultural products and resources such as grapes and other fruits will have to adapt to harsher environments and conditions.

Mr. Gaume also hopes potential moon and Mars colonists may like to taste some of the pleasures of Earth. Thus, none of these bottles will be opened for tasting up until February. Months of chemical testing will follow. Researchers are keen to see if sedimentation and bubbles have altered space.

SCU and partner institutions CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Scientifiques, Toulouse), ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, Bordeaux), and ESA (European Space Agency) will assess the biological mutations that have taken place in the canes exposed to these conditions, comparing them to samples that have remained on planet Earth.

SCU announced in a tweet that it intends to carry out a private tasting of orbital wines in January, when it intends to reveal the official name of the drink. He'll be among the lucky few taking a sip.

The 12 bottles were corked and carefully packaged in steel cylinders to avoid breakage.

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule undocked with the wine and vines - and thousands of pounds of other gear and research, including mice - and aimed for a splashdown Wednesday night in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa. SpaceX's supply ships previously parachuted into the Pacific. The 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets, called canes in the grape-growing business, were launched by SpaceX last March. It was at at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and was the launch of NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard. Other cargo capsules have the possibility of burning the shipments when entering back to the Earth's atmosphere.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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