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Wait, you mean before now, astronauts couldn’t do that?
Well, you don’t expect them to get distracted from very serious tasks while floating through the air by a craving for a glass of Champagne. So, no, they’ve been going through quite a lot in space, while you’re down here guzzling down everything in sight.
The race for space tourism (that is affordable) is ongoing, but how will tourists celebrate when they arrive (and begin to float) in zero-gravity levels?
French champagne house, Mumm and Paris-based design firm, Spade are trying to pull it off. They have begun creating the first fizz that can be drunk in space (whilst breezing past the moon.) In outer space, nothing is the same and everything has to be put into consideration: from opening the bottle, to pouring the liquid, to how the bubbles function and even the taste of the drink itself.
Mumm has spent three years (and lots of money) to develop Mumm’s Cordon Stellar, a drink it believes will be drunk in outer space within five years. The specialized champagne bottle dispenses the drink as foams which could then be harvested with special wineglasses capable of catching these bubbles and bringing them to your lips.
While this might sound easy, Octave de Gaulle, founder, and CEO of Spade, the firm that designed the high-tech bottle, said he and the entire team tried to fashion a bottle which could work in a weightless environment, like space, without coating everywhere with pungent champagne. An unusual internal pressure-release valve controlled by a button on the bottle’s bottom, allows you to control how much gas is released when you pop the cork.
The specialized space cup is tiny and has no stem, so drinking champagne could be likened to little kids trying to catch soap bubbles with a hollowed-out magnifying glass.
Mumm hired the Airbus A310 airplane which the European Space Agency uses to simulate zero-gravity, to launch the Cordon Stellar. Mumm has entered discussions with private space companies about serving the Grand Cordon Stellar Champagne on sub-orbital flights.
French astronaut, Jean-Francois Clervoy, a veteran of the Space Shuttle program who was among the first to enjoy the first splashes (or foams) of the champagne noted that people who find themselves in outer space as tourists would want to celebrate, especially because they’ll have all the time to take everything in.
Outer space tourism may not be too far from becoming a reality, with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos vying with Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic project in order to take travelers (willing to pay of course) to outer space to look around. SpaceX announced that in about a year or two, it would send two lucky travelers around the moon.
Although NASA administrators are teetotallers and are unlikely to lift the agency’s ban on booze in space anytime soon, Mumm hopes the new commercial outer space travel industry will allow newcomers to space celebrate, just like engineers in the control cockpit do.
Thankfully, we are going to float around with champagne glasses in hand, when the time comes.