Using a robotic cargo ship, Japanese company Suntory Global Innovation Center sent six forms of distilled liquor to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. Among the items sent to the astronauts hovering above our planet were mice and other supplies. The liquor sent to the orbiting lab is however only for research purposes and no one aboard the satellite will be allowed to consume it.
Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui was assigned the task of operating the station’s robotic arm as the aforementioned company was keen to find out how microgravity affects the mellowness of the tastes of their beverages after a year or two in space.
“With the exception of some items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a mellow flavor when aged for a long time. Although researchers have taken a variety of scientific approaches to elucidating the underlying mechanism, we still do not have a full picture of how this occurs,” reads a press release by the group.
A tiny crew of 12 mice was also ferried into the orbiting station as a part of an experiment to study the effects of weightlessness on them during long space missions. In all, the supply ship took along nearly 9,500 pounds of supplies and science gear during its four day sojourn.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had launched the H-II transfer vehicle, called the HTV-5, on Sunday. It reached the ISS at 6:55 a.m. ET and was captured via a robotic arm by the astronauts housed inside the ISS.
“HTV-5 capture was successful!” wrote space station astronaut Kimiya Yui of Japan, who piloted the robotic arm along with NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, on Twitter after grappling the spacecraft. “Thank you all for your support and hard work.”
This makes HTV-5 the fifth Japanese spacecraft to ferry supplies to the famous space station.