Saturday, November 17, 2018
Close  
  • share this

Champagne in space: Zero-G bottle lets tourists drink bubbly

/ 12:21 PM September 12, 2018

A picture taken on September 6, 2018 in Paris shows a bottle of Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar champagne, designed by French Interior designer Octave de Gaulle, that will be drank by space tourists using a container bottle adapted to pour the bubbly liquid in zero gravity conditions.
“Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar”, is a project in collaboration with the Space Agency, the designer Octave de Gaulle, grandnephew of France’s General de Gaulle, and French astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, the CEO of Novespace, a subsidiary of CNES (national center space studies) in Bordeaux, southwest France. AFP

PARIS – Future space tourists may be able to toast the view from orbit with fine champagne, after designers came up with a high-tech bottle made for knocking back bubbly in zero gravity.

The Mumm champagne house teamed up with designer Octave de Gaulle, who has specialized in conceiving of everyday objects for the final frontier, to develop the space-age bottles.

ADVERTISEMENT

Journalists from several countries will try the champagne on Wednesday during a flight taking off from the French city of Reims, in the heart of champagne country.

The specially equipped Airbus Zero-G plane will make a series of parabolic maneuvers, climbing steeply before plunging down to create 20-second spurts of weightlessness.

FEATURED STORIES

The target audience is not astronauts, who are not allowed to drink alcohol on the International Space Station.

But the coming wave of sub-orbital and orbital space tourism promoted by private operators such as Virgin Galactic and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin could prove an ebullient audience for cosmic connoisseurs.

“They won’t have to be performing any professional tasks onboard, so they’ll probably be able to drink a bit of alcohol,” said astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, who heads the company which operates the Airbus Zero-G.

In zero gravity, the challenge is quite simply to get the wine out of the bottle.

“You could imagine drinking it with a straw,” said physicist Gerard Liger-Belair, who consulted on the project – though it’s unlikely you’d ever find a champagne fan stooping to such an indignity.

In search of a more elegant solution, around three years ago the Mumm team turned to De Gaulle – a great-grand-nephew of the French wartime leader Charles de Gaulle – who came up with a bottle divided into two chambers.

The champagne is in the upper portion, while below is a finger-controlled valve which uses the champagne’s own carbon dioxide to eject small amounts of wine which emerges as foam.

ADVERTISEMENT

Catching your champagne foam

The next trick was to stop the wine from streaming across the cabin, for which De Gaulle created an aluminum strip that forms a ring over the top of the bottle to capture a bubbly sphere.

“Then you rotate the bottle and the foam sphere is released,” he told AFP in his Paris workshop.

Drinkers can then scoop the wine out of the air using a tiny yet long-stemmed glass which resembles an egg cup.

Clervoy said the moment the foam turns to liquid in the mouth is a sensation that can’t be matched on Earth.

“It’s really magical because the champagne lands not just on your tongue but on the palate, the cheeks – the gastronomic sensations are magnified,” he said.

Mumm is now looking for a partner, either a public space agency or one of the private upstarts.

In the meantime, De Gaulle plans to refine his prototype, and who knows, one day astronauts might be able to ring in a new year while on a mission.

“There has always been a bit of alcohol in space, even if it’s officially prohibited,” he said. /kga

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Airbus Zero-G plane, Blue Origin, champagne, France, International news, Mumm, News, Octave de Gaulle, Science, Space, Space Tourism, space-age bottles, tour, Virgin Galactic, Wine, World, World News
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
lifestyle

More people seen to have sex in self-driving cars

November 17, 2018 07:09 PM

business

China, US trade barbs in speeches at Apec Summit

November 17, 2018 06:51 PM

globalnation

Duterte takes another stab at ICC

November 17, 2018 06:20 PM



© Copyright 1997-2018 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.