KFC announced this week they are building a space vessel that will carry the crunchy sandwich into the cosmos. The takeaway chain will team up with private spaceflight company Worldview to send the food on a four day trip into the stratosphere.
"We’re excited to be the ones pushing spicy, crispy chicken sandwich space travel forward,” Kevin Hochman, KFC U.S. president, said in a statement.
World View bill themselves as “Radically Rethinking Access to Space”. The collaboration with KFC will be a part of their first true, multi-day test World View Stratollite System.
CEO of World Wiew admitted that when they first contacted KFC it was all a bit of a joke, but they soon realized that they were embarking on more than a kitsch marketing campaign.
"But we quickly realized this was a great opportunity for us to publicly demonstrate our breakthrough Stratollite technology to a large audience while simultaneously financing a significant portion of the vehicle’s development."
The Stratollite space system is designed to take small payloads into the earth's stratosphere for up to months at a time. The service delivers internet, Earth imaging, disaster relief and other mapping applications at a sliver of the cost of other rocket launches. It works by utilizing a large balloon that thrusts payloads into the upper stratosphere. The stratosphere is where most weather occurs, the vehicle is designed to navigate as it rides the wind.
The Zinger launch will be used as a test of critical technology for the service.
The World View team are obviously really excited about the flight and have also been active on social media promoting the big event. The team expects to get concrete data about its long-duration stratospheric flight design while testing out some new core systems they have had only previously tested in the lab.
"For example, this is the first time we’ll be testing our solar power system, which is the on-board, regenerative power system that will allow the Stratollite vehicle to ultimately fly for months at a time without interruption. We’re also developing and testing a real-time HD video downlink system, among other critical systems improvements."
The ultimate goal of World View is to fly ticketed space tourists up to the stratosphere in its Voyager capsule. These flights would bring people to the edge of space suspended under a giant balloon.
The Zinger burger which had not been previously available in the U.S. will launch in conjunction with the flight. The plan includes for the hamburger to take a ‘selfie’ mid-flight before returning to earth safely in its custom bucket shaped payload container.
Since the announcement, the internet has been digging up some great information on KFC's long history with space. CollectSpace did some digging and reminded us that KFC was involved in the Chix in Space project that was a space experiment led by students aiming to develop chicken embryos in microgravity. KFC was responsible for the funding of the project. Unfortunately, the Chix in Space project was onboard the Challenger orbiter when it was lost in flight. But later iterations of the experiment were more successful being part of the Discovery and even on the International Space Station.
The Zinger chicken sandwich is scheduled to take flight on June 21. The launch will be broadcast live online.