SpaceX sends beer ingredients to International Space Station just in time for Christmas

Budweiser wants to be the first brewer on Mars 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 19 December 2017 15:59 GMT
The SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule approaches the International Space Station prior to installation in this NASA picture taken 10 April 2016.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule approaches the International Space Station prior to installation in this NASA picture taken 10 April 2016. (REUTERS/NASA via social media/Handout via Reuters )

SpaceX has sent a shipment to the International Space Station (ISS) just in time for Christmas that includes ingredients for astronauts to make beer.

Astronauts for the collaborative orbital effort of the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe used the space station's big robot arm to grab the SpaceX Dragon capsule out of orbit on Sunday.

The 4,800 pound (2,180 kg) shipment included a shipment of barely seeds from American brewer Budweiser.

"It's a great day to see Dragon back at ISS again," mission control at Cape Canaveral, Florida radioed.

Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei captured the SpaceX Dragon as the two spacecrafts raced over the Pacific, midway between Australia and New Guinea.

Mr Acaba responded to mission control "It's a beautiful spacecraft, and we're looking forward to digging into it and getting some science on board."

That “science” includes new equipment to detect damage to the space station caused by space junk, analyse better development for fiber optic products used in space, sensors to more accurately detect how much solar energy is transmitted to Earth, drugs to be used on rodents to test muscular breakdown in zero gravity, and 20 barley seeds sent by Budweiser.

According to Food and Wine astronauts on board will conduct experiments to determine "how exposure to a microgravity environment affects the seeds in general, while the second experiment will specifically focus on barley germination to see if the seeds grow at the same rate in space as they do on Earth.”

Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser told the magazine: “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

The experiments will be run for a period of 30 days on ISS and then returned to the brewer for review by its innovation team.

The crew of ISS - currently one American and two Russian astronauts - will have to unpack the spacecraft and reload it with 3,600 pounds of research equipment, hardware, and crew supplies before the SpaceX Dragon’s return to Earth next month.

This was the 13th commercial resupply mission for ISS and the second time SpaceX has used the Dragon spacecraft to do so.

They will be joined soon by three more astronauts, one Russian, Japanese, and American from Nasa, to watch another Christmas present sent to the crew - a digital copy of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" movie to be beamed up by Disney.

The first crew for the ISS launched in 2000 and 108 astronauts - including 51 American crew members and 138 other astronauts from Nasa - have taken turns living in the floating research laboratory ever since.

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