SpaceX Cargo Dragon Capsule Splashes Down to Earth

Katie Ramirez
January 16, 2021

It was the idea of Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg start-up to put the wine in space and allow it to age for up to an entire year.

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

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.

As for the wine, the bottles won't be opened until the end of February.

Gaume said that farm goods such as grapes would have to adjust to harsh weather in the face of climate change.

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. How space affected the wine's sedimentation and bubbles is among researchers' interests.

There's another benefit. Gaume expects future explorers to the moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of Earth's pleasures. He's going to be among the fortunate few to take a drink.

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

In November 2019, the wine hitched a trip on a Northrop Grumman delivery ship to the space station.

According to him, the goal of the experiment done by Space Cargo Unlimited is to see and learn how subjecting agricultural products in extreme environments, lack of gravity and weightlessness can affect the plants.

The carefully packed wine - each bottle nestled inside a steel cylinder to prevent breakage - remained corked aboard the orbiting lab - none for the astronauts to try. The 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets, called canes in the grape-growing business, were launched by SpaceX last March.

Private investors and other partners have made the experiment possible.

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

The Dragon cargo spacecraft transported over 4,400 pounds (1,995 kg) of important scientific experiments, as well as other cargo, from the ISS to Earth.

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