Company Launches Red Wine to Space Station

Antares launches a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (Space Cargo Unlimited PR) – On November 2nd, at 09:59 am ET, Space Cargo Unlimited, a one-of-a-kind European “New Space” start-up, launched red wine to the International Space Station (ISS), in partnership with Thales Alenia Space and Nanoracks, to be aged in space for twelve months before returning to Earth.

This is part of the first comprehensive, privately lead, applied- research program on the ISS that seeks to develop innovative solutions for the future of food and agriculture on Earth.

Wine making and maturation is an extremely relevant multi-component biological process involving key elements such as yeast, bacteria, crystals, colloids, and polyphenols. Very little is known about how the taste and chemical composition of wine is affected during the ageing process. Space Cargo Unlimited will investigate how space radiation and microgravity affect wine components during the ageing process. This could yield results that help in understanding taste enhancement and food conservation. In this approach, Space Cargo Unlimited is following in the footsteps of Louis Pasteur, a founding father of modern biology, who, while studying wine in the 19th century, discovered the existence of bacteria and how to maximize the role of yeast.

This experiment on the ageing of wine is part of a larger set of 6 experiments named Mission WISE (or Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia), which will unfold over the next 26 months.

An orbiting lab such as the International Space Station provides an Earth-like environment, with the key exception of near-zero gravity and exposure to space radiation. Both have a significant and rapid impact on biological evolution; for example, human cells assemble in spheres, crystals are flawless, etc. Mission WISE will research how plants adapt to the stress of space conditions in combination with specific stressors such as temperature, salt, or pathogens. The combined effects will force organisms to evolve naturally and develop beyond their initial innate capacities. One result could be that these organisms have more effective defenses back on Earth, particularly in the context of climate change. It is Space Cargo Unlimited’s ambition to make use of the unique environment of space to the benefit of life on Earth.

“Five years after starting to explore the effects of microgravity, we are incredibly excited to initiate Mission WISE to envision space as an effective source of progress and positive outcomes for future generations on Earth.” Says Nicolas Gaume, Co-Founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and we are grateful to our partners all over the world that support WISE and this first experiment – including our science team from ISVV, University of Bordeaux, France and FAU Erlangen Nuremberg University, as well as all space organizations involved: NASA, Thales Alenia Space, the amazing team of Nanoracks and a very special mention for Mr. Lionel Suchet, Chief Operating Officer for the CNES and his team, who relentlessly supported our vision from the beginning. It is our shared conviction that there is no Planet B. We intend to pave the way to our future by helping to invent the agriculture and food we need for tomorrow.” Concludes Gaume.

About Space Cargo Unlimited

Founded in 2014, Space Cargo Unlimited is a European startup founded by highly regarded private investors and space-enthusiast entrepreneurs. Fostered by the new space dynamic, with technological advances and falling costs of access to space, leveraging the high level of European space industry expertise, Space Cargo Unlimited is dedicated to seizing the potential of microgravity research and manufacturing for commercial applications on Earth. Building strategic partnerships with space operators, Space Cargo Unlimited develops comprehensive expertise in complex microgravity project management to nurture innovative and useful initiatives. Targeted applied microgravity work will help envision how to face the challenge of new Agriculture, Health and Food. Space Cargo Unlimited with its subsidiary Space Biology Unlimited, aims to be a catalyst for new commercial dynamics in Europe and the US to create momentum to attract private companies and entrepreneurs to invest massively into microgravity research. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Space Cargo Unlimited operates with teams and partners in Bordeaux and Toulouse (France), Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany), Turino (Italy), Houston & Seattle (USA). Partners include CNES, Thales Alenia Space, Nanoracks, Blue Origin, FAU, and ISVV. For more information: www.mission-wise.com