The world’s first space-proof bottle of champagne has been built by French experts.
Maison Mumm, the almost 200-year-old Reims-based winemakers, created the Cordon Rouge Stellar to be the first bottle that is both safe for spaceflight and also legitimate, AOC-approved, champagne.
The Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC), which restricts what can be called champagne, states a bottle must have a mushroom cork and be in a glass bottle, which the Stellar manages.
A 375ml glass bottle is contained inside an aeronautical-grade aluminium shell and the top of the bottle, known as the “service” section, has a long neck with a mushroom cork that is kept firmly in place with a steel ring.
There is an additional stainless steel stoppering mechanism inside the bottle which controls the flow and is operated by pushing a button on the bottom of the bottle.
Pouring liquid is impossible in space because of a lack of gravity, but the pushing of the button allows liquid to escape and gather in a floating fizzy orb which can be drunk by astronauts.
The traditional popping of the cork will not be possible with the Cordon Rouge Stellar, however, as high-velocity projectiles and space are a poor and potentially catastrophic combination. Instead, the cork is steadily removed from the neck and retained.
‘Participate in the pursuit of space exploration’
Mumm says the appearance of the bottle is “futuristic” but “similar to a traditional champagne bottle”.
The winemakers hope to now send their champagne into orbit.
“The ultimate goal is for Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar to participate in the pursuit of space exploration,” the bottle’s makers said in a statement.
“Space travellers will be able to enjoy a product that comes from Earth’s soil as well as the savoir-faire of humankind, a symbol of our culture.”
The champagne itself will be made from grapes harvested in 2016, with the majority Pinot Noir. The drink has notes of ripe yellow fruit, vine peach, dried fruit, hazelnut and praline, Mumm claims.
Creating a bottle that passed stringent checks to be safe for spaceflight was a technological challenge that had never been attempted before.
‘A terrestrial symbol of the art of living’
The five-year project involved Mumm; the designer Octave de Gaulle who founded SPADE, a company which specialises in designs for space; and scientists and engineers from CNES, the public organisation responsible for French space rules.
Jean-François Clervoy, a French astronaut from the European Space Agency (ESA), said: “In space, there is a loss of temporal reference points and terrestrial habits.
“For both balance and well-being, it is essential to maintain a link with Earth and its culture. As a terrestrial symbol of the art of living, champagne has this universal appeal.”
The Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar will be sent to Axiom’s upcoming missions to the Axiom Station which is currently being built.
No price has been revealed for the futuristic bottle of champagne.