Fast food restaurant KFC and commercial launch provider World View announced today that they have partnered to launch the Zinger chicken sandwich to the edge of space and then bring it back, along with telemetry data. Pushing the boundaries of space exploration and what KFC calls “fried chicken technology”, the mission will be the longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight with a commercial payload in history and the first-ever multi-day mission of the World View Stratollite flight system.
Unlike typical high-altitude balloons, Stratollites can execute a variety of flight profiles, from circumnavigating the Earth to persistence over a specific location, and maintain position over specific areas of interest for days, weeks, and eventually months on end. The Zinger Stratollite launch window opens on June 21.
“We’re excited to be the ones pushing spicy, crispy chicken sandwich space travel forward,” said Kevin Hochman, KFC U.S. president. “But in all seriousness, we’re proud to support World View’s commitment to advancing space research and trust them to take our world famous Zinger sandwich to space.”
Representing enormous untapped potential, Stratollites could serve as stationary Wi-Fi hubs in remote or undeveloped areas that may not have existing internet access, or monitor ongoing crisis situations from a previously inaccessible vantage point. Future flights could be used for disaster preparedness and response – from predicting weather events days in advance, to monitoring ongoing or quickly arising weather and disaster events (for example, forest fire detection) – ultimately assisting first responders with rapid communications and surveying capabilities.
“The Stratollite was created to deliver meaningful access to space for all,” said Taber MacCallum, World View co-founder and chief technology officer. “This mission offers edge-of-space access to KFC, allowing them to embark upon a one-of-a-kind marketing experiment, while we get to pursue our maiden multi-day Stratollite shakedown cruise and open unprecedented access to the stratosphere. It’s a double win.”
KFC has created a promotional website to highlight this “mission” here.
According to the World View website, they plan to leverage the development of its Stratollite technology to pioneer a different type of discovery – private space exploration. “In due time, World View will offer an affordable, safe, and gentle way for humans to access near-space for an experience unlike any other,” the website statement reads.
World View is led by experts in high-altitude ballooning, veterans of human spaceflight, and a team of retired NASA Astronauts, with a flight platform that is rooted deeply in technologies that have been successfully and safely used for decades.