When one thinks about space voyages, KFC chicken burgers are unlikely to surface as the next associated thought. However, in an unlikely mission, the two have come together to make history.
On Thursday last week (June 29), World View Enterprises, a private US near-space exploration company, sent a KFC Zinger burger 23.5km up above the surface of the earth via a giant space balloon. The entire operation was narrated by Rob Lowe as Colonel Sanders to mark the historic launch.
While the whole project may seem just like an elaborate gimmick highlighting the new heights of capitalism in society, the chicken burger's voyage to space is actually motivated by a much more serious, scientific reason.
World View is currently developing its "Stratollite" balloon system as a cheaper alternative to satellites for taking pictures from space, or providing internet services and mobile coverage.
They had previously launched several missions, including projects for NASA, though none of them have stayed in space for more than a few hours. The burger was expected to be the first project to last for four days.
"We're going to learn a lot about long-duration stratospheric flight, while at the same time developing and testing some core systems capabilities that we've never had before," CEO of World View Jane Poynter said in an interview.
The final aim of World View is to keep Stratollites in the air for months at a time, with the possibility of creating pressurised capsules to take tourists into space for hour long trips.
Unfortunately, the project was brought to an abrupt halt after just 17 hours due to an unforseen leak in the balloon.
However, Poynter said in a statement with regards to the project that "within the first few hours of flight, all system test objectives were met".