Houston, the whiskies have landed. Prepare for mellowing. The Suntory five whiskies headed to the International Space Station have safely docked in space.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-5) arrived at the International Space Station Aug. 24 to deliver almost five tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the Expedition 44 crew. The cargo vehicle was launched atop a Japanese H-IIB rocket Aug. 19 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
The Japanese cargo ship HTV was dubbed Kounotori or “white stork” in Japanese, because it conveys the delivery of important cargo and expresses the HTV’s mission to transport crucial materials to the space station.
This important cargo includes five Suntory whiskies. The whiskies will spend the next 12 months “mellowing” in space. A duplicate set of five whiskies will spend the same amount of time here on earth. Suntory is testing the effects of alcohol aging in space. Once the whisky returns to earth, it will be compared to the earthbound whisky for testing. No mention of the astronauts having an opportunity to test whisky mellowing testing on their own!
Testing the Mechanism that Makes Alcohol Mellow
Suntory Global Innovation Center will use the space experiments on the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment.” This research will be conducted in the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module (nicknamed “Kibo”), with the cooperation of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Title of study: Elucidating the Mechanism Mellowing Alcoholic Beverage
You can learn more about the testing from 5 Suntory Whiskies Headed to International Space Station to Test Mellowing
Here’s a video of the cargo vessel docking. Very cool stuff!