For the First Time, Astronauts Can Pop a Bottle of Bubbly in Space

space champagne
Astronauts Can Pop a Bottle of Bubbly in Space Maison Mumm
  • A four-year research project produced a newly developed champagne bottle that meets space standards.

  • Rules about gaseous liquids in space requires, among other things, all pressure to remain contained in the bottle.

  • Stainless steel and aeronautical-grade aluminum combine with glass and cork on the SPADE-designed bottle.

When Axiom Space fully commercializes its space station plans, the Houston, Texas-based group wants a bit of Earth’s creature comforts up there: namely, champagne.

But you can’t just have pressurized glass bottles floating about in a space habitat—getting champagne to space requires an extra level of scrutiny. So, France’s Maison Mumm, one of the largest champagne producers in the world, partnered with the aeronautics-focused design firm SPADE to create a space-compliant bottle that meets not only exacting French champagne standards, but also French space agency requirements.

🍾 Science explains the world around us. We’ll help you make sense of it all—join Pop Mech Pro.

Cordon Rouge Stellar is poised to become “the first champagne that can be tasted in space and that will embark on future human space flights,” according to a Maison Mumm press release.

Resulting from a four-year research and development process, the Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar has met full space compliance with help from the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. That meant dealing with a complex set of constraints on gaseous liquids in the absence of gravity, pressure contained in the bottle, food compatibility, material specifications, size, ergonomics, and intuitive use (more on a fancy little button later).

The trickiness was two-fold because Mumm also had to adhere to rules from the Champagne Appellation d’Origine Controlée, the regulatory commission for the tightly controlled beverage. Regulations for champagne require it to be stored in glass and corked with a traditional “mushroom”cork. So, the 12.6-ounce bottle uses glass on the interior layer, with stainless-steel opening and closing devices securing the champagne in place. The champagne only ever encounters the glass bottle interior and the stainless steel, identical to Mumm’s blending vats in Reims; the two materials are used for preservation and to meet regulatory requirements.

Space rules require a pressurized liquid container to have a second protective layer. The outer shell of the two-layer bottle comes in aeronautical-grade aluminum to protect the glass bottle inside—glass shattering in space would be a major problem. The top of the bottle, dubbed the “service” part, features a long neck topped by a cork and a ring. This keeps the cork from popping open and helps lock the bottle’s stainless-steel mechanism.

To match the traditional champagne bottle and tasting experience as closely as possible, SPADE needed to do something about the zero-G conditions that would otherwise make the iconic champagne bottle pop impossible.

“After uncorking, when pressing the button located at the bottom of the bottle, the champagne exits through the neck and gathers in the ring that once held the cork in place,” Octave de Gaulle, the founder of SPADE, tells Dezeen. “When a sufficient amount of champagne has exited, a small movement of the wrist separates a sphere of Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar champagne from the ring that is then gathered by our specially designed glass and ultimately tasted by the astronauts.”

Because of the lack of bubbles rising to the top of the bottle when in space, there is a limited release of aroma molecules. So, Mumm blended grapes from the 2016 harvest, which includes the house’s signature Pinot Noir grape variety, supplemented with reserve wines from the past five years. Mumm says the champagne has developed notes of ripe yellow fruit and vine peach, but also dried fruit, hazelnut, and praline. Aged in oak barrels, the dosage liqueur, elaborated from wines, brings a touch of vanilla and pastry notes.

You Might Also Like