SpaceX’s mystery payload revealed!

Chris Thompson / SpaceX

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule carried a payload so secret that it was marked “TOP SECRET,” as in the 1984 Val Kilmer movie.

Chris Thompson / SpaceX

So what was inside? A tribute to Monty Python, in the form of a wheel of cheese.

Darn … it wasn’t Spam in a can.

Just after SpaceX’s Dragon capsule returned from its maiden flight on Wednesday, the California-based company’s millionaire founder, Elon Musk, told reporters that thousands of commemorative patches and other keepsakes were flown into orbit aboard the craft. But he deflected a question from CollectSpace’s Robert Pearlman about a “humorous payload” that was also placed on the Dragon. Musk said reporters would have to wait until today to get the answer.

“If you like Monty Python, you’ll love the secret,” he said.

I would have bet real money that the payload was Spam in a can … or a collection of cans. That would have played off the Pythons’ famous “Spam, Spam, Spam” skit, as well as their “Spamalot” Broadway show, as well as test pilot Chuck Yeager’s famous comment that the Mercury astronauts would just ride in their capsules like “Spam in a can.” I could even imagine that the Spam would demonstrate how meat-based objects (such as a future astronaut) might stand up to the 4 to 5 g’s of peak acceleration experienced during the flight.

But no.

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Instead, the SpaceX team took their inspiration from a different Python skit, in which a gentleman fancying “a llitle fermented curd” tries to buy cheese from a shop that has no cheese. The secret payload, sealed in a metal container marked “Shhh! TOP SECRET” was …

… a wheel of cheese. To be precise, a wheel of Le Brouere cheese, a French brand of cow’s milk cheese that’s been compared to Gruyere. “On the tongue it developed a rich caramel flavor,” a reviewer wrote in 2005.

Sounds like the perfect thing to serve at SpaceX’s holiday party. With Spam on the side.

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We’ve gathered up all of the items about the SpaceX test mission under the Cosmic Log SpaceX category. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by “liking” the log’s Facebook page or following @b0yle on Twitter.


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