SpaceX Reveals Dragon’s “Secret” Payload


During Wednesday’s post-flight press conference, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed the rumor of a secret payload on board the Dragon spacecraft, but said he wouldn’t reveal what it actually was until Thursday. He did say, however that if you liked Monty Python, you would like this payload.

True to his word, SpaceX just issued a press release on what was inside this container, above, that was bolted to the floor of the Dragon spacecraft.

See below.

Top Secret payload revealed. Photo Credit: Chris Thompson, SpaceX

It was a wheel of cheese, which references a classic skit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, where actor John Cleese tries to order cheese from a cheese shop that has no cheese.

A skit about cheese doesn’t sound funny, but it is. 42 different kinds of cheese are mentioned in the skit; the kind on board Dragon was Le Brouere cheese.

Many fellow journalists speculating on Twitter agreed that the secret payload was likely a can of Spam — which would reference both Monty Python’s hit “Spamalot” as well as pilot Chuck Yeager’s admonition that early astronauts were just like “Spam in a can.”

9 Replies to “SpaceX Reveals Dragon’s “Secret” Payload”

  1. There’s a fund raiser right there…

    I mean think about it for a minute.

    How much would someone be willing to pay for something like that, that went up on the first successful commercial orbital space flight?

    The whole wheel has got to be worth a mint to someone, even individual wedges would be worth a good deal – to the right person.

  2. As if there was any doubt, Elon Musk wins, no matter what. I’ve always respected a man who would spend his own millions to start his own space program. Now I want to have his babies.

  3. I had some measure of respect for these guys already, that’s now verging on admiration (and you may remember I’m nowhere near keen about manned space programs).
    Monty Python + cheese + intricate jokes lovers, that’s quite fine by my standards.
    The cheese part especially appeals to me as a Frenchman.

    I must however confess to my everlasting shame that I had never heard about that specific cheese to this day. I’ll make up for it by reporting that the first commercial payload of a Dragon capsule weighed 12 kilograms.
    I’ll make up for it even more by going to my cheese shop and buy some. If they have any cheese at all in that shop.

    Kudos Mr Musk.

  4. The remark on the lid made me half expect a bowling ball.

    Curiously, brouère isn’t one of the cheeses mentioned in the Cheese Shop sketch [].

    The mention of there being 42 Cheeses made me think even more that someone ought (if no one has already) to ask John Cleese (whom Douglas Adams cited as the closest thing to a source—per an apparently arbitrary exclamation in a (non-Python, iirc) sketch in which they were both involved) about the significance the number. Then i looked and found that there are actually 43—including Venezuelan Beaver Cheese. Still, i’m curious what Cleese (whose family name was Cheese, a couple-few generations back) has to say about it.

  5. “which would reference both Monty Python’s hit “Spamalot””


    The “Spam” in “Spamalot” is a reference to a Monty Python sketch that is completely separate from Spamalot.
    Where do you think the computing term “Spam” comes from if you don’t know this?

  6. Ahh, you beat me to it Spam…

    “We have spam, spam, bacon and spam”
    “But I don’t like spam!!”

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