Sprinting star Usain Bolt ran a footrace in a Zero-G gravity plane during a flight aimed to test a bottle of champagne that can be popped in outer space. The maker of the bottle is Charles de Gaulle's great-grand nephew.
Bottle designer Octave de Gaulle (L) passes the champagne to Usain Bolt (C) and French astrounaut Jean Francois Clervoy (R) in zero gravity
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt ran a mock race inside a free-falling Airbus A310 during a publicity event organized by the French champagne house MUMM, describing the zero-gravity flight as an "out of this world experience."
The 32-year-old sport star said he felt like a "kid in a candy store" during the intervals of weightlessness, which had a combined duration of around 4 minutes.
Along with a group of reporters, Bolt took off from the French champagne city of Reims in a specially-equipped Airbus Zero-G plane operated by the European Space Agency to enjoy a few 20-second spurts of weightlessness, and sip the champagne at zero gravity.
Paris designer Octave de Gaulle, related to the wartime leader, designed a bottle with two chambers to open in different sections to avoid the champagne bursting out across the spacecraft.
An aluminum strip forms a ring over the top of the bottle to prevent the foam from exploding all over the cabin.
"Then you rotate the bottle and the foam sphere is released," he said during an interview in his workshop. Guests can then float, capturing the spheres of champagne.
Out of this world
The art of drinking champagne in zero gravity appears to require some training. Floating inside the spacecraft, drinkers have to scoop up the wine with small, long-stemmed glasses more reminiscent of an eggcup than a champagne flute.
The experience is apparently delightful, according to astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy. It's apparently even better than the experience of drinking champagne on earth. "It's really magical because the champagne lands not just on your tongue but on the palate, the cheeks — the gastronomic sensations are magnified," he mused.