Space Cargo Unlimited brings back scientific payloads of canes and wine from the International Space Station with SpaceX CRS-21 Dragon Craft.

Bordeaux, January 11th, 2021

Media Alert – for Immediate Release
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Mission WISE is the first comprehensive, privately led applied research program leveraging microgravity to tackle tomorrow’s agriculture challenge.


Over the course of 12 months, Space Cargo Unlimited accomplished three space experiments. After spending respectively 10 and 14 months stored on the ISS, three hundred twenty canes (project name CANES) and twelve bottles of Bordeaux, (project name CommuBioS) will make their return on Earth on January 11th, 2021. As the keystone of Mission WISE, CANES aims to reveal the future of agriculture through the research methodology named “Self-Guided Evolution.” The methodology was proof-tested with ALPHA, a second experiment that took place last December.


According to NASA officials’ official planning, undocking will occur on January 11t h, 2021, at 9.25 am ET.

How? Where?

Payloads will fly back with uncrewed cargo Dragon spacecraft (SpaceX) and will splash in Cape Canaveral the same day. This is the first splashdown for SpaceX in the Atlantic without a crew.

Next Steps

The 320 canes of Merlot and the twelve bottles of red wine will travel to Bordeaux (France) by air with estimated arrival between January 27 and January 29th. They will reach the ISVV (Institut Superieur de la Science et du Vin in Bordeaux, France) for analysis.

  • Canes: The scientific research will begin with the 160 canes of Merlot and 160 canes of Cabernet Sauvignon following the research protocol called “Self-Guided Evolution,” a methodology published in June 2020 by PD Dr. Michael Lebert, Department of Cell Biology, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg University and Chief Scientist Officer for Space Cargo Unlimited. As plants undergo severe biological changes, ISVV will analyze the differences between returning canes with similar specimens that stayed on earth to identify the mutations and stabilize the adapted strains. After their immediate return to ISVV, teams of researchers will observe the different batches and document any visible change, any damage, and determine the health status of the CANES. Space Cargo plans on more than a year of research on vine plants to perform all the various analyses and grow the new varieties anticipated.
  • Wine: A private organoleptic tasting will undergo in early March in Bordeaux with one of the most renowned Bordeaux enologists and agronomists, Franck Dubourdieu: space wine organoleptic properties will cover and respect the classic procedure with aspects such as color, texture, aroma, packaging, separation, stratification, and taste.

Why does it matter?

  • Space Cargo Unlimited’s mission WISE program is developing new models and technology to tackle the future of agriculture and food by leveraging the effect of microgravity on complex biological systems.
  • Mission WISE is the first comprehensive, privately led applied research program in space to reinvent the future of agriculture on the Earth.
  • Space Cargo Unlimited innovates as rarely do plants return to Earth. Most of the experiments aim to grow food on the ISS to feed the crew onboard and contemplate the future of spatial conquest.
  • Meanwhile, Space Cargo Unlimited’s focus consists of leveraging the absence of gravity to find new ways of growing plants on the Earth and scale up to feed more people on the planet.
  • Space is the natural way to accelerate living organisms’ evolution to our rapidly changing world. Every living element adapts and transforms in response to its changing environmental conditions.
  • CANES will take advantage of plants’ accelerated development in an environment with little or no gravity (i.e.microgravity) and higher radiation exposure.

Space Cargo Unlimited’s focus on vine and wine as a proxy for agricultural evolution at large is motivated by the comprehensive knowledge developed around wine since ancestral times and the role it played in previous scientific breakthroughs, such as Louis Pasteur, who discovered the existence of bacteria.

Canes and wine are ideal study materials and the Canary in the coal mine for agriculture’s future on a changing Earth. For example, In the 1970s, winemakers in Bordeaux were tempted to add sugar to realize their winemaking process. By doing so, wine would end up with 12% alcohol. Today as grapes have more sugar because of climate change, there is no need to consider this anymore, and wine in Bordeaux top 14 or 15% alcohol. One can only wonder what it will be in 30 years…

About Space Cargo Unlimited

Founded in 2014, Space Cargo Unlimited is a European startup founded by highly regarded private investors and space-enthusiast entrepreneurs. Fostered by the new space dynamic, with technological advances and falling costs of access to space, leveraging the high level of European space industry expertise, Space Cargo Unlimited focuses on seizing the potential of microgravity research and manufacturing for commercial applications on Earth. Building strategic partnerships with space operators, Space Cargo Unlimited develops comprehensive expertise in complex microgravity project management to nurture innovative and useful initiatives. Targeted applied microgravity work will help envision how to face the challenge of new Agriculture, Health, and Food. Space Cargo Unlimited with its subsidiary Space Biology Unlimited aims to be a catalyst for other commercial dynamics in Europe and the US to create momentum to attract private companies and entrepreneurs to invest massively into microgravity research. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Space Cargo Unlimited operates with teams and partners in Bordeaux and Toulouse (France), Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany), Torino (Italy), Houston. Partners include ESA, CNES, FAU (Erlangen, Germany), Nanoracks, and ISVV (Bordeaux, France) Universities. For more information   @space-cu

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