SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Astronaut Yuri Gagarin became a global legend in 1961 as the first human to journey into outer space. While looking down on Earth, the only thing missing to toast the occasion was a beer. Being able to drink beer in space wasn't an option then but it is now, and it's about to become the reality for one lucky earthling as part of a competition of galactic proportions.
Vostok, a joint venture between Sydney-based brewery 4 Pines Brewing Company and space engineering company Saber Astronautics, are giving one person the opportunity to be part of their space beer research and development team testing beer in zero gravity conditions. The winner will float 32,000 feet above Earth on a Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) research flight, which recreates the weightlessness you feel in space and the conditions experienced in future commercial space flights.
Vostok was formed seven years ago with the sole purpose of creating the world's first beer to be drunk in space; from the beer recipe to the patented bottle technology. Led by Saber Astronautics CEO Jason Held and 4 Pines Brewing Company co-founder Jaron Mitchell, Vostok has achieved a few significant milestones and world firsts already. This includes testing to ensure alcohol is safe for people to drink in space (it is) ; whether you can actually create a beer that can be drunk in space (you can and they have); determining if this beer will taste any good (you betcha), as well as developing the first beer in aviation history to be formally tested on a commercial microgravity flight . The final stage is the mission they're on now; perfecting and then manufacturing the bottle the beer will be drunk from in space.
Space travelers have been drinking liquids from something similar to a yoghurt squeezy tube to date. Vostok are now in the final stages of testing the prototype of a beer bottle that will enable you to drink the beer as you do on Earth. The bottle will be a world-first and once perfected, will then be manufactured and available for space-traveling civilians to drink from. With hundreds of people signed up for commercial space flights already, a beer is bound to top that experience off.
The prize is valued up to $20,000 USD* (depending on where the winner is based) and is available to residents of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It includes a return flight from either of these three regions to Cape Canaveral, Florida, accommodation for three night in Florida and a seat on a ZERO-G Weightless Lab parabolic flight, during which the winner will be part of the Vostok research and development team for space beer.
To enter, you are required to complete the 50-word essay competition form and then make a pledge to purchase a space beer bottle for $90 USD on the Vostok Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, when it launches in April 2018. This competition is a skills-based test and the winner will be selected from the valid entries submitted from the applicable countries. The full list of crowdfunding perks will be made available in the coming months, but rest assured there's some additional cool opportunities to get your hands on the world's first beer manufactured for space as well as some perks for people living outside of those three regions (unfortunately this doesn't include the ultimate prize or space beer bottles.
Mitchell believes commercial space travel will be a reality by the end of the decade and like any other forms of travel, space tourists will want creature comforts such as beer to make that experience more enjoyable.
"There would be very few of us that don't enjoy having a beer when you're traveling and if you have the opportunity to travel to space and have forked out a good amount of dollars to do it, then I'd be wanting a beer. We've anticipated that demand and are on track to meet it. It's extraordinary to reflect on what we've achieved since 2010. It's been a self-funded project to date and we're on the cusp of creating a comfort product that will benefit all of mankind in space. It's an incredible position to be in and we're looking forward to sharing part of this research process with one lucky earthling through our spaceflight competition, as well as giving people all over the world the opportunity to buy and forever own the world's first batch of space beers ever made."
Whereas 4 Pines has led the charge of creating the perfect beer for zero gravity conditions, Held has focused on the complex engineering required to actually drink the beer in the same environment.
"A space beer bottle is a lot like a small spacecraft fuel tank," says Held.
"In space you can't 'pour' a liquid without special technology, so we pioneered the important bits at Saber Astronautics to make pouring feel natural. Then we worked with industrial and creative designers to make the final bottle beautiful for people on Earth too. The result is you will be able to take a beer on your flight and view our big beautiful round Earth while tipping back a cold one just like you can at home."
Vostok will use the money raised from the April 2018 Indiegogo campaign to assist them in the continued research and development of the bottle prototype as well as manufacturing the final product. Their aim is to have a space beer product available for commercial space flights in 2019.
Enter the competition and read the full terms and conditions here:
*Note: Should the Indiegogo Campaign not fulfill the funding goal, the winner will receive a consolation prize of $1,000 USD.
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Background on 4 Pines Brewing Company:
4 Pines was born over a decade ago from a casual conversation between a father and son, post surf, who simply wanted an exceptional beer and options were limited. Built on throwing convention out the window, using alternative methods to measure success and having fun while we did it, this innocent conversation that evolved into a brewpub became the foundation of a lifelong journey with family, friends and the community to restore the fun in people's lives and forever challenge what the world imagines business should be. Our quest to send beer into space is just one example of this. The specially brewed 4 Pines Dry Irish Stout needed to balance both a rich flavour with low levels of carbonation to avoid a 'wet burp' in space. Burping both gas and liquid isn't ideal for space tourists, so a rigorous amount of zero gravity testing was conducted to achieve the perfect beer. The beer has been commercially available in Australia since 2011 as 4 Pines Dry Irish Stout and won a gold medal at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards.
For more information on 4 Pines, please visit: www.4pinesbeer.com.au
Background on Saber Astronautics:
Saber Astronautics is a space engineering company conducting cutting-edge R&D in the fields of operations and logistics. We design tools for emerging commercial space industry and apply them to everyday challenges on Earth. Our partners have engineered legacy projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station. We have senior operators from US Army and Air Force Space Command and two PhD graduates from a world-class field robotics laboratory in Sydney. For more information, please visit www.saberastro.com
Background on ZERO-G:
Zero Gravity Corporation is a privately held space entertainment and tourism company whose mission is to make the excitement and adventure of space accessible to the public. ZERO-G is the first and only FAA-approved provider of weightless flight in the U.S. for the general public; entertainment and film industries; corporate and incentive markets; non-profit research and education sectors; and the government. ZERO-G's attention to detail, excellent service and quality of experience combined with its exciting history has set the foundation for the most exhilarating adventure-based tourism. For more information about ZERO-G, please visit www.gozerog.com