French wine returns to Earth after a year in space

Katie Ramirez
January 14, 2021

The intoxicating cargo was shipped to the International Space Station in November 2019 as part of an experiment launched by a Luxembourg-based startup.

Besides the bottles of wine and vines, the SpaceX CRS-21 Cargo Dragon has brought thousands of pounds of other gear and research instruments, including mice, back to Earth.

Dragon was launched on December 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arriving at the station just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a USA commercial cargo resupply spacecraft.

The wines and canes have spent between 10 and 14 months in space, during which they were exposed to microgravity and higher radiation than on Earth.

Until at least next month, when one or two will be released for a sampling in Bordeaux, the bottled wine will stay sealed.

The carefully packed wine - each bottle nestled inside a steel cylinder to prevent breakage - remained corked aboard the orbiting lab. Researchers and wine experts are very interested in seeing how the elements, temperature, and environment in space has changed the wine's sedimentation and bubbles.

Some French wine that is truly out of this world will be delivered tonight.

Nicolas Gaume, the co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited, told the Associated Press (AP), they aim to discuss how in the future, they will have organic and safe agriculture to feed humanity. He's going to be among the fortunate few to take a drink.

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With climate change, Gaume said agricultural products like grapes will need to adapt to harsher conditions.

As a Frenchman, he explained that good food and good wine are a part of life.

The SpaceX Crew-1 successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center en route to the International Space Station Sunday night.

SpaceX is the only shipper capable of returning space station experiments and other items intact.

The spacecraft carried more than 4,400 pounds (about 1,996 kg) of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

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