10 Of The Strangest Things Flown On NASA’s Space Shuttles

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A remarkable number of odd “things” are flown first-class, other than people looking to travel luxuriously with free drinks, goodie bags, and a little extra legroom. Supposedly, renowned cellist Lynn Harrell travels the globe on two airline tickets, one for himself and one for his $5 million, 300-year old cello. U2 singer Bono reportedly spent $1,700 on a first-class ticket to fly his favorite hat from London to Italy.

NASA’s last space shuttle mission –its 135th -launched on Friday, July 8, 2011. Over the course of 30 years, a remarkable number of oddities have also been launched into outer space, and one can’t help but wonder if Bono joined the ranks of other celebrities and bought a $250,000 ticket on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, would he also buy a first-class ticket for his favorite hat? Only time will tell. But until then, here are 10 of the strangest things flown on NASA space shuttles.

10. Modified Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cans: Space Shuttle Challenger’s STS-51 Mission

It’s 1985. The Cold War is coming to a close, but the cola war is heating up as Coke and Pepsi are in a soft drink arms race to see which brand will conquer America’s tastebuds. Specially modified cans of Coca-Cola were scheduled to be onboard the space shuttle Challenger on its 1985, STS-51 mission. The Coca-Cola company not only wanted to provide carbonated beverages to the astronauts, but it also wanted to observe the effects of spaceflight on changes in taste perception. Needless to say, when Pepsi Co. learned about this covert operation, it wanted to be in on the cosmic cola action, too. In the end, both soft drink companies devised modified cans to test methods of dispensing liquids in a microgravity environment; according to the astronauts, however, the microgravity cola experiment was a failure due to a lack of refrigeration.

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