In the early morning of June 13th 2019, the silence of the northern Swedish wasteland near the small town of Kiruna was interrupted by a bellowing hiss. At 04:23 the German Aerospace Center (DLR) launched a 12m long and 2.5 tonne high-altitude rocket from their ESRANGE rocket base. The 20m long fiery tail carried a scientific cargo at a top speed of Mach 6, at an altitude of 260km with 108kN thrust.
In a tube housed inside the rocket’s cargo, 10 different experiments had been placed by physicists and biologists, including some small vials of liquid yeast from the wine region of Palatina in southern Germany. The mastermind of these yeast cultures is aproject group made up of members from the DLR, the Weincampus Neustadt and the BierProjekt Landau. This colourful troop wants to investigate whether the yeast will still be alive and working after the ordeal of the flight, having endured a period of weightlessness.
The scientific focus is placed on the inconspicuous by-product of yeast: Vitamin B12. This vitamin is of course very important to humans, to help maintain our nervous system and healthy brain function. On Earth we absorb it through eating nuts and animal meat; which of course on a flight to Mars, would not be readily available. “If we want to go to Mars, we have to pack everything we need to survive for eternity. For such a long flight, there is no umbilical cord with supply flights as there is with the ISS.” Jens Hauslage from DLR stated. Therefore yeast could perhaps play a key role in long space flights – if it can handle the flight?
The wine and beer specialists from Palatina will determine if the yeast is still viable post-flight – the yeast will be returned to wine barrels and beer kegs, back where it feels most at home. “If the yeast then manages to cope with normal fermentation without abnormalities, that is the first good sign. Thereafter, further steps can be initiated.” explains Dr. Rex from the wine campus. One part of the yeast will make wine, another part will make beer – both not commercial, but only for research purposes. “That’s how it clicked for us, with what TANKARD sang many years ago – a real spacebeer!” says Dominik Rödel from the BierProjekt.
To solicit the blessing of the Metal Gods for this adventure in space, TANKARDsigned the plastic tube that housed the experiment. “We are very curious to see what the outcome is. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, good luck and cheers!” Commented Andreas “Gerre” Geremia, singer and frontman of the cult band, hoping that there will be a few bottles of space beer to try in due course…
‘Schwarz-weiß wie Schnee’ is the anthem for German football club Eintrach Frankfurt and has been played in the stadium for ten years, before every home game. The song has now been completely re-recorded by TANKARD and was released as part of an EP. You can order the EP here: www.nuclearblast.de/tankard
TANKARD released their highly praised 17th studio album One Foot In The Grave in 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records.
One Foot In The Grave was recorded at Gernhart Studio (Troisdorf, Germany) together with producer Martin Buchwalter (Destruction, Suidakra) in January 2017. The new artwork was brought to life by Patrick Strogulski, who is a student of Sebastian Krüger, the former TANKARD cover artist. He also created the cover artworks for ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’ and ‘R.I.B.’.