Usain Bolt: Now the fastest man in space, as on Earth

usain bolt public relations

It’s one small sip for man, one giant leap for mankind.

The former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who now plays for Australian A-League football team Central Coast Mariners, has entered new heights as part of a campaign by French firm Mumm’s Grand Cordon Stellar to showcase a new Champagne bottle- developed specially for use in zero gravity.

On board an Airbus Zero-G aircraft, the usually grounded star floated in zero gravity as he sampled the goods: namely, a specially-designed clear glass bottle that uses pressure within the bottle to expel champagne into a ring-shaped frame. In zero gravity, the effect looks like a droplet of bubbles, that can then be gathered into a custom-made glass.

“It’s a very surprising feeling,” says Mumm cellar master Didier Mariotti says of trying the wine, “because of zero gravity, the liquid instantly coats the entire inside of the mouth, magnifying the taste sensations. There’s less fizziness and more roundness and generosity, enabling the wine to express itself fully”.

Still, it may not have been the champagne that truly stole the show: dressed in a spacesuit, Bolt staged a race inside the cabin with his fellow tasters. As the aircraft performed parabola dives, Bolt and his competitors were treated to 22 second stints of weightlessness. Bolt typically only needs less than half that for his 100-meter dash; this time, he was a little slower off the mark.

Mumm’s Grand Cordon Stellar is the result of a three-year project, developed in partnership with space design specialists Spade. The product is set to be served to guests on board zero gravity flights organised by Novespace, while Mumm says it is also in talks to supply the fizz on future space missions and commercial space flights.

Mumm’s partnering with Bolt seems to have paid off; news of the sprinter’s taste of the high life spread quickly. As firms of the future gear up to send some of the world’s wealthiest tourists and thrill-seekers into space- namely billionaire entrepreneurs Richard Branson of Virgin fame, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla head Elon Musk- a range of firms are jostling to ride the coattails of this emerging industry.

Indeed, public interest in space tourism is heating up, with Musk this week announcing that his space transportation firm, SpaceX, is set to send the world’s first private passenger on a flight around the moon aboard the BFR launch vehicle. No further details have been revealed, including the passenger name or amount charged. The flight will be the first time a human has visited the Moon since 1972, and the event is inevitably set to be webcast live.

In the meantime, with a specially developed champagne and partnership with an internationally adored athlete, Mumm may have got the jump on a PR stunt that is out of this world.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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