Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - How Your World Works -

The first low-earth-or­bit ho­tel, Aurora Sta­tion, aims to wel­come space tourists by 2022. Though the un­built four-guest lux­ury ho­tel has count­less tech­ni­cal hur­dles ahead, one va­ca­tion amenity is cov­ered: the beer. Jaron Mitchell, co-founder of Aus­tralia’s 4 Pines Brew­ing, saw the grow­ing in­ter­est in space tourism in 2010 and be­gan de­vel­op­ing a recipe to sat­isfy trav­ellers in mi­cro­grav­ity. ‘The chal­lenges are car­bon­a­tion, taste, and pour­ing,’ says Mitchell. Be­cause there’s no up in mi­cro­grav­ity to di­rect car­bon­a­tion, a ter­res­trial beer will sep­a­rate into large beer-cov­ered bub­bles that re­sult in un­com­fort­able wet burps. And as­tro­nauts have re­ported a dulled sense of taste, so the beer had to im­press blunted palates. 4 Pines set­tled on an am­pli­fied Ir­ish-style stout, rich with heav­ily roasted bar­ley, that still felt and tasted like great beer with min­i­mal car­bon­a­tion. Next, 4 Pines part­nered with Saber Astro­nau­tics to cre­ate the first beer bot­tle for space. ‘With no grav­ity to pour, beer is stuck in a bot­tle from sur­face ten­sion,’ says Ja­son Held, CEO of Saber Astro­nau­tics. As­tro­nauts use squeez­able bags and straws to drink, but Saber and 4 Pines wanted to recre­ate the ex­pe­ri­ence of drink­ing from a bot­tle. Tak­ing a tech­nol­ogy used in fuel tanks, Saber put a wick­ing in­sert in the bot­tle that pulls the liq­uid out, and tested it in flights on a re­duced­grav­ity air­craft-sim­i­lar to NASA’S in­fa­mous Vomit Comet. Thirsty space trav­ellers press a but­ton on the bot­tle to open the cap and let the stout flow. Held rec­om­mends bring­ing the bot­tle up to your mouth but not tip­ping it back. In low-grav­ity tests, this sloshed the liq­uid around the bot­tle.

The 4 Pines Stout is cur­rently avail­able in Aus­tralia. The space-ready Vos­tok Space Beer Bot­tle ( will go on sale next year for R1 200. far right)

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