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Booze in space: Japanese company sends alcohol to the ISS

Booze in space: Japanese company sends alcohol to the ISS


Orlando Sentinel

By Richard Tribou

August 24, 2015

The International Space Station’s liquor cabinet is full up, but the astronauts on board won’t be imbibing anytime soon.


Japanese company Suntory Global Innovation Center has sent six forms of distilled liquor up to space on board the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s “Kounotori” transfer vehicle to the space station, which launched on Aug. 19 from Japan along with more than 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments for the Expedition 44/45 crew.


Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui this morning used the robotic arm to capture the Kounotori and along with the ISS crew successfully connected it to the ISS’s Harmony module.


You may remember Suntory from the film “Lost in Translation” with Bill Murray holding a glass of whiskey and saying, “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”


So why is there whiskey in space?


Suntory wants to know why alcohol “mellows” over time. A press release from the group reads: “With the exception of some items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a mellow flavor when aged for a long time. Although researchers have taken a variety of scientific approaches to elucidating the underlying mechanism, we still do not have a full picture of how this occurs.”


To be clear, mellowing mean losing alcohol content, so that’s bad.


So some of the alcohol (a variety of different proofs) will be kept in space’s microgravity environment for one year, while the rest will stay in the ISS’s Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) for two or more years. Back on Earth, another six samples will age and comparative experiments will be performed on each.


So sorry astronauts, no drinking allowed. It’s all for science.