Budweiser wants to brew beer in space


National News

December 3, 2019 - 10:01 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. — Forget the craft beer craze. Space beer is the new frontier.

At least it is for Budweiser and parent company Anheuser-Busch, which has been sending barley seeds to the International Space Station since 2017 in hopes of learning how to brew in microgravity.

The ultimate goal is to be the first beer on Mars. One can only assume humanity will need something to throw back when it finally reaches the Red Planet.

To that end, SpaceX’s upcoming resupply mission to the ISS — the company’s 19th for NASA — will carry the next step in the brewery’s experiment. This one will help Anheuser-Busch learn more about the malting ability of barley seeds in space, an important step in the beer brewing process.

If all goes as planned, the experiment will be one in more than 250 that’ll be shuttled to the ISS from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 40 on Wednesday, a day forecasted to bring good weather to the spaceport. The Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron is forecasting conditions will be 90% “go” for launch.

It’ll carry with it a few firsts, including the first Mexican-developed nanosatellite to travel to the ISS, aptly named AzTechSat-1. The mission will show how a CubeSat, developed by Mexican students, communicates with the GlobalStar network, an existing constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit. The research could help cut costs in satellite communications production, a growing sector of the private space market.

Also taking the ride with SpaceX will be an experiment examining the behavior of flames in space. The research will look at how fire spreads in different confined spaces in microgravity, information that could both serve to improve safety in space and also give scientists a look at the underlying physics of combustion when gravity is removed from the equation.

Other experiments will look to further study muscle and bone loss in space using mice and make more subtle measurements of gravity. The launch will carry an advanced imaging system to space that will be able to take high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface across all colors of the light spectrum.

The launch will kick off a jam-packed month for the Space Coast that is also set to include Boeing’s first test flight of its astronaut capsule to the ISS, as well as potentially another launch of 60 SpaceX communications satellites.