Alec Bradley Launches First Cigars Into Space

The phrase "cigar launch" took on a more literal meaning this morning when the Alec Bradley Cigar Company attached thirty of its new Mundial cigars to a weather balloon and successfully released them into the stratosphere from atop the Palms Casino Resort. After traveling approximately 18 miles up, the weather balloon ruptured, a parachute deployed, and the Mundial cigars gently fell back to earth in perfect condition, ready to be smoked.

"We have made history," said Sam Phillips, vice president of marketing for Alec Bradley, via a text message. The cigars were found in the Sheep Range mountains, about a two hour drive north of Las Vegas.

According to company owner Alan Rubin, the space launch took about three to four months to plan with, a company that specializes in high-altitude balloon launches. Sky-Probe oversaw this morning's launch, which took place on the patio area of Phil Maloof's penthouse in the Palms, as well as the subsequent retrieval.


Twenty five Mundial cigars were packed snugly into a rugged box designed by the engineers at Sky-Probe specifically to protect its contents from rough landings. Inside were three HD cameras that captured the balloon's journey. Also inside was a SPOT GPS tracker, which sent out a signal for the box to be found, and a high-altitude data logger that recorded statistics like air pressure, temperature and altitude.
Five Mundial cigars, representing each size in the line, were encased in Plexiglass and attached to a rod that extended from the sealed box of cigars.
Per FAA regulations, a radar reflector was attached to the cigar box so that planes could spot the balloon.
One of the founders of Sky-Probe and Alan Rubin, smoking a cigar, check the most current weather patterns on a laptop shortly before the launch.
Sky-Probe founders fill the weather balloon with hydrogen until its about eight feet in diameter. Sam Phillips of Alec Bradley, wearing sunglasses, looks on.
Moments after the balloon is released. As the balloon travels higher into the stratosphere it will gradually expand until its about 28 feet in diameter. At that point, it ruptures.
Here's a screenshot of the cigars in space taken via a smartphone (hence the reflection of the photographer). The cigars are about 18 miles above the ground. Notice how the protective foam in between the cigars has greatly expanded (due to the decreased air pressure) compared to how the package appeared on ground level.
The members of the Alec Bradley team are all smiles after the successful launch.

While the launch preparations, which included contacting the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the cigars and weather balloon complied with regulations, were fairly controllable, retrieval of the Mundial cigars was another matter.

"You can't control the wind. The retrieval is a huge part of this; we have no clue where [the cigars] are going to come down," said Rubin just after the launch. "We had to coordinate with Sky-Probe, making sure the payload could hold enough cigars for us; and then all of the logistics of how it was going to look, what we wanted it to look like and what it represented for us. There's a lot of minute details."

Rubin said he plans to give one of the spaced-out Mundials to Phil Maloof for his generosity to help make the launch a reality. He also wants to hang five of the cigars on a wall in his home and plans to explore the idea of donating a portion of the cigars to a charity auction.

For more on the Mundial cigars, see Alec Bradley Final Completes Mundial


I know that this post is going to sound very strange.

As you know I am here in Miami, missing the IPCPR show due to my bad back problem. The weird part is that I went outside to walk my chiwawa, Pablito, and the Mundial Space Craft full with those sticks hit me in the shoulder. Brother, I'm talking all the way here in Miami.

Know under normal circumstances, I would just report this to you, Sam and Rubin, but I was just starting to feel better from all the doctor therapy.

Moreover, after I got hit, my back went into convulsions and little Pablito went beserk and alarmed the neighbor, who is already pissed off at Pablito for various reasons. Anyway, the neighbor winds up throwing the top of a metal garbage can over the fence and it hits me dead in the face, bro.

My front teeth all got knocked out and I think that it ruptured a blood vessel in my eye, cause it turned red and swolled up. The worst part is yet to come, and I feel so terrible reporting this - but just at that - little Pablito ran into the street and got runned over by a chick in a Fiat that looked like JLow.

I called my lawyer and all he wanted to know is where the Mundial be at ... cause he's a big Alec Bradley fan.

Christopher Dunn Honolulu, HI, USA, July 14, 2013 7:32pm ET
Anything for attention (Alec Bradley, that is, not you, JDrew!). This "space launch" is ludicrous. Who gives a rip, and why would a self-respecting cigar maker resort to such an inane stunt? And, the cigars did NOT make it "into space," as they never made it out of the stratosphere. Remind me not to buy AB anymore.
Friends. After my wife criticized me last night for writing that small doo dad about the space craft, I want to mention something. I was only having fun and I apologize for letting my goofy imagination take over. I also will never write anything about my dogs dying, even if it was 100% in good fun.

Store 282 Northborder July 15, 2013 10:40am ET
Hey, now everyone relax....this is what I love about the cigar industry....We do not cower to Political Correctness, and who is to say what is corny or a stunt. Common, have you studied cigar history? Alec, love it, Drew...Funny.....Dunn, lighten up or light up(:

-M Boomer
LES MANN East Providence, Rhode Island, UNITED STATES, July 22, 2013 1:34pm ET
Thank you to my great friend Alan Rubin and The Road Warriors for having me at Phil Maloofs's penthouse to witness the space launch and then at the AB/Zing party at the Palms!

In true Alan Rubin style, he will be auctioning off the cigars to charity!

1996 seems like yesterday! Continued success to the entire Alec Bradley team!


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