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$34,312 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers
$34,312 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers

About

We’re research engineers who solve complex fluid problems in space and on earth. Almost a year ago we were approached about making a space coffee cup that could be used with the ISSpresso. Of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so we set aside some time to make it happen. We thought it would just be a fun side project. Turns out a lot of people wanted a cup too-- NASA, colleagues, coffee connoisseurs, and space enthusiasts alike. 

We couldn’t say no, we’re not really good at that… Now we need your help to raise funds so that we can make molds for glass production, put together packaging, and really share the experience with everyone. We’re looking to Kickstarter and our backers to make that happen!

Mark taking a gander at the revolutionary space cup.
Mark taking a gander at the revolutionary space cup.

It sounds simple enough, but designing a cup for space requires a deep understanding of how fluids behave in zero-g. "We're geeks, and we make spacecraft fluid systems" says Mark Weislogel. "It's like space plumbing." Turns out a lot of factors go into making fluids do what you want in space.

Factors affecting the design and function of the cup. Science + Math + Engineering.
Factors affecting the design and function of the cup. Science + Math + Engineering.

The Space Cup uses principles of capillary flow as shown above. Some of these include shape, wetting condition, and surface tension. Basically, the material, fluid, and shape. They all matter. With the cup a sharp interior corner angle draws liquid upward creating a wicking effect. 

So what does all that mean? Well, believe it or not, fluids act very weird in space. Surface tension, the stuff that keeps liquids together becomes a significant force and dominates gravity. When surface tension wins you can pump tons of liquid ...or coffee by being clever about the shape. Get it? Don't believe us? It's true, we promise. 

Okay, back to the story...

Astronaut Don Pettit demonstrating the Zero-G Coffee Cup.
Astronaut Don Pettit demonstrating the Zero-G Coffee Cup.

Like all good stories, ours begins humbly. In 2008 a collaboration between Mark Weislogel and Astronaut Don Pettit prompted a discussion about getting rid of "sippy bags" in space and drinking more like on earth. Mark proposed a geometry and Don being a "get things done" kind of guy built and demonstrated it in space. As you can see in the video, Coffee Cup 1.0 worked like a charm...

Credit: R. Garan, Photo. M. Fossum, NASA.
Credit: R. Garan, Photo. M. Fossum, NASA.

Okay, so you're probably saying that's pretty cool, but what are the benefits? Well, where do we start...

First, the cup is actually a fully manifested space flight experiment investigating how complex fluids behave. Real science is coming out of this that benefits space systems and ground systems (think microfluidics).

For the space cup specifically. We can save a lot of volume, weight, and waste by not using a bunch of bags. Instead astronauts can use a reusable device that continues to work. It also makes being in space a bit more familiar and home-like.

The design actually comes from a long history of investigating fluid behavior in space. There are also some pretty gnarly equations that come about too. If you're an uber nerd, or maybe a spacecraft developer, you can check out a publication (one of many) on capillary fluidics. 

If you're not into that stuff (shocking), just know that there's real math, fluid mechanics, science, engineering, design, sweat and tears that went into solving some of these space problems. 

The cost of printing a single cup is pretty high and what would be cool is functional glass cups. Of course this will require some tooling, glass blowing, and a bit of manufacturing all around. This is where we need your support! We want to share this design and experience with everyone around the world (and some out of this world). 

Why KickStarter?

We need your support to,

  • Produce molds and tooling for glass cups
  • 3D print all the mini-keychains (design done)
  • Produce packaging including informational booklet

With this project supported we'll also have resources to invest in more like-minded living-and-working in space demonstrations. We'll let you know what we mean soon... 

Progress

So what about our progress so far? Well, we have 3D printed cups on earth and in space. We've also prototyped some handmade versions out of glass that look amazing, but we can't scale that yet. To produce in appreciable volume with consistency we need to invest in tooling so we can make this a reality. This is where you come in. Your backing shows us that you want this to happen and gives us the momentum to launch this project (no pun intended).

The Rewards

We've come up with an assortment of fun rewards. Photos and videos! [Coming Soon]

Spread the Word!

If you're into this project or have backed us be sure to Follow Us on Twitterand Like us on Facebook.

Risks and challenges

With any manufacturing process comes certain levels of risk including delays and quality assurance. Our team has sourced partners that will assist in assuring high-quality manufacturing.

If you receive a cup with an issue, let us know within 7 days, and we'll send a replacement. We want everyone to be satisfied and have fun with the project!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Flight Badge Sticker: Projects aboard ISS traditionally have a "flight badge" designed to commemorate the project. We'll send you the one we design for Capillary Beverage, aka CapBev, the official flight experiment!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Flight Badge Combo: Projects aboard ISS traditionally have a "flight badge" designed to commemorate the project. We'll send you the one we design for Capillary Beverage, aka CapBev, the official flight experiment!

    *This includes an embroidered patch AND a sticker. All rewards that mention a badge of any sort will include both!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    3D Printed Keychain: A scaled mini-cup with a handle that fits nicely on your keychain! You'll love it.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Space Cup: Yes, the real deal, in glass with a handle and refined base to accommodate use in both zero-g and 1-g for earth-bound folks.

    It is demitasse size holding 3-4 fl oz. This is the same size as aboard the International Space Station and is roughly a double shot of espresso, or half a cup. We'll also throw in a badge for good measure.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Space Cup Deluxe: A glass cup, keychain mini-cup, and a flight badge sticker. If you want the full set of swag, you want the deluxe version.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Double Shot: A pair of glass cups, a flight badge, and a mini-keychain. Maybe you want to share a cup with a friend, or just need a backup. Either way, you have our respect.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Quad: Four glass cups, four flight badges, and a single mini-keychain. Maybe you want to share a cup, or two, or three with friends, or just need a lot of backups.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $290 or more About $290

    Gift Set: Eight glass cups, a flight badge sticker, and a mini-keychain. This is a great set to share with family, friends, or colleagues.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Space Scientist: We'll take you on a tour of the Dryden Drop Tower and perform up to 3 drop tower tests with different beverages of your choice. Commission your cup the right way, in zero-g.

    With each drop you'll get a video to share with your friends so you can say "see, it works" and they can promptly payout on that bet and buy you an espresso from one of the great cafes in Portland, Oregon.

    Available Drop Dates: Oct - Dec 2015.

    + Glass Space Cup, Flight Badge, and Keychain.

    Not Included: Flight & lodging to Portland, Oregon.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Barista-Naut: One 3D printed SLA cup plus official stand. This is the same design and material that was approved by NASA, flight certified, and is aboard ISS now.

    This is a limited run. You get to choose one of the six designs that are currently on Space Station and get it before everyone else.

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Funding period

- (40 days)