It’s Friday afternoon and most Aussie’s are probably knocking back a few cheeky cold ones after a long week at work. For some, the work doesn’t stop with Vostok, a joint venture between Sydney-based brewery 4 Pines Brewing Company and space engineering company Saber Astronautics, working to give one person the opportunity to be part of their space beer research and development team. Their job, to test 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. Space travellers 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-travelling 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 US$20,000* (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 nights 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 US$90 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 travelling 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 space flight 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.
You can enter the competition and read the full terms and conditions here: www.vostokspacebeer.com/competition. Should the Indiegogo Campaign not hit their the funding goal, the winner will receive a consolation prize of US$1,000.