Space champagne - bubbly that's really out of this world

The first meal consumed in space consisted of pureed meat squeezed out of a toothpaste-style tube by Yuri Gagarin but the gastronomic experience available to astronauts today is much broader and can now even feature a wine list.

A collaboration between the French National Space Agency, wine maker Maison Mumm and a design consultancy has developed the first bottle of champagne specially conceived to be poured in space's zero gravity.

Octave de Gaulle, the designer behind the unique bottle that makes a champagne experience in space possible, says the new container will function flawlessly in a weightless environment. The cork can be popped out without spilling any of the liquid and as the sparkling wine leaves the bottle it will transform into a foam that can be collected in a custom-made glass.


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Upon contact with the tongue, the tiny bubbles will burst into liquid, releasing a taste that cannot be matched on Earth, according to French astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy.

The challenges involved in fashioning a vessel suited to a space mission were considerable - the bottle must comply both with cargo specifications and AOC Champagne rules. It mush be able to retain its liquid under pressure and cannot shatter.

The creation of the champagne was also adapted to respond to the different sensory environment of zero gravity. Laurent Fresnet, cellar master of Maison Mumm, says that while the blend is the same as champagne on Earth, the ageing and finishing process needed to be altered to ensure the distinctive flavors were maintained and even enhanced.

The new champagne has already been tested in a zero gravity environment and is now ready to be popped in space. Despite concerns from NASA that liquid seeping out into the spacecraft could cause challenges, it seems that for the French Space Agency the idea of sipping champagne through a straw was even more unthinkable.

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