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Chicken sandwich flies to stratosphere

Chicken sandwich in stratosphere
A basket-shaped receptacle holds KFC’s Zinger chicken sandwich during its balloon flight into the stratosphere. (KFC Photo)

That’s one small step for high-altitude balloon research, one giant cheep for KFC’s Zinger chicken sandwich.

After one weather-related postponement, Arizona-based World View Enterprises sent the sandwich to the stratosphere today from a spot near Page, Ariz., and Lake Powell – mostly as a publicity gambit for the fast-food chain, but also as the first multi-day test mission for World View’s steerable balloon platform.

World View is developing its “Stratollite” balloon system as a low-cost alternative to satellites for Earth imaging, weather monitoring, surveillance and other applications.

“Today’s launch marks a truly historic milestone in our quest to open the stratosphere for business,” World View founder and CEO Jane Poynter said in a news release. “With the maiden voyage of our multi-day mission underway, I am extremely proud of the entire team and all we are learning to make space more accessible. It is especially exciting to have the public along for the ride through our very fun and exciting collaboration with KFC.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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