Whisky ar­rives on the Int’l Space Sta­tion

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

An un­manned cargo ship loaded with emer­gency sup­plies — in­clud­ing Ja­panese whisky — suc­cess­fully docked at the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion early Tues­day, of­fi­cials said.

But thirsty astro­nauts will have to keep their hands off the golden tip­ple — it’s a science experiment.

Bev­er­age gi­ant Sun­tory sent the booze to space so it could test how time in a zero-grav­ity en­vi­ron­ment af­fects its fla­vor.

Re­searchers for the com­pany have said that stor­ing the bev­er­age in an en­vi­ron­ment with only slight tem­per­a­ture changes and lim­ited liq­uid move­ment could lead to a mel­lower fla­vor.

The un­usual cargo was placed in­side the 5.5-tonne ves­sel “Kouno­tori” (stork in Ja­panese), which blasted off from south­ern Ja­pan last Wed­nes­day at­tached to an H-IIB rocket.

It was also loaded with food, wa­ter, cloth­ing and tools nec­es­sary for ex­per­i­ments in space.

Ja­panese as­tro­naut Kimiya Yui, 45, who is liv­ing at the ISS, used a ro­botic arm to grab the ves­sel be­fore it was suc­cess­fully berthed at the sta­tion.

The cargo ship will leave the ISS and re-en­ter the earth’s atmo- sphere in late Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­pan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agency.

The de­liv­ery also con­tained parts for a wa­ter re­cy­cling sys­tem, af­ter the U.S. Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion asked its Ja­panese coun­ter­parts to in­clude them as “emer­gency ma­te­ri­als” fol­low­ing the fail­ure in June to launch the U.S. Fal­con 9 rocket.

The un­manned SpaceX rocket ex­ploded min­utes af­ter lift- off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, mark­ing a ma­jor set­back for the com­pany headed by tech­nol­ogy ty­coon Elon Musk.

The ac­ci­dent was the third in less than a year in­volv­ing U.S. and Rus­sian sup­ply ships bound for the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, and raised new con­cerns about the flow of food and gear to the astro­nauts liv­ing in or­bit.

AP

In a photo pro­vided by NASA, a cargo ship from a Ja­panese com­pany is bolted into place on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion Mon­day, Aug. 24.

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