Sauvignon ISS: French Wine Returns Back to Earth From Space

16 Janvier, 2021, 08:36 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • French wine returns to Earth after a year in space

The SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft undocked Tuesday and is heading for the waters off Tampa carrying thousands of pounds of research materials and gear, including the case of French Bordeaux, hundreds of grapevines, mice and 3D-engineered heart tissues.

This upgraded Dragon cargo transported significantly more science back to Earth than possible in previous Dragon capsules, and is the first space station cargo capsule to splash down off the coast of Florida, according to NASA.

The wine bottles were packaged inside steel cylinders and remain uncorked since they were sent into orbit in November 2019.

Though the bottles are landing on Earth Wednesday night, they won't be opened until the end of February, when Space Cargo Unlimited will host a wine tasting with one or two bottles in Bordeaux by some of France's top connoisseurs and experts.

Agricultural science is the primary objective, stressed Nicolas Gaume, Space Cargo Unlimited's CEO and co-founder, although he admits it will be fun to sample the wine.

'Our goal is to tackle the solution of how we're going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy and able to feed humanity, and we think space has the key, ' Gaume said.

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Gaume went on to say that climate change will force agricultural products - like grapes - to adapt to harsher conditions.

Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to bring what has been observed by stimulating the plants in a gravity-free environment through a sequence of space tests to transform them into more robust and efficient plants on Earth.

Besides, Gaume added that future Moon or Mars explorers might want a little Cabernet Sauvignon with their space stakes.

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

Dragon cargo was launched on December 6 a year ago on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, arriving at the ISS just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a USA commercial cargo resupply spacecraft. In addition, 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine fragments, also known as canes in the grape-growing industry, were delivered by SpaceX last March. "Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn at 7:37 p.m. EST to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth's atmosphere", NASA said in a statement.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.


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