KFC says it plans to make a space pioneer out of a chicken sandwich next week when it sends it to the edge of the atmosphere with the help of a high-altitude balloon. The promotional stunt for the Zinger sandwich comes two months after the fast food chain unveiled Rob Lowe playing Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders in a space suit as part of an ad campaign, the AP reports. The ads promised to send the breaded chicken sandwich into space. KFC is partnering with balloon maker World View on the project.
The chain says the launch window opens June 21 for what it says is the longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight with a commercial payload in history. The sandwich will return to earth and bring back telemetry data. News.com.au notes that the unofficial NASA Watch group has zinged KFC over the stunt, pointing out that the balloon is only going up 80,000 feet, about a quarter of the way to the Karman Line where space is generally considered to begin. That means the sandwich "is not going anywhere near 'space,'" NASA Watch tweeted. But when Ars Technica space editor Eric Berger added that it's "not going past about 23km," KFC piped up: "And it’ll be the most delicious 23km of them all," the company tweeted. (Read more KFC stories.)