Chicken Sandwich Returns to Earth


The chicken has landed, a little earlier than planned. A World View Enterprises stratospheric balloon carrying a KFC chicken sandwich touched down yesterday (June 30), about 17 hours after taking off.

The flight — the first planned long-duration mission of World View’s uncrewed Stratollite vehicle — was scheduled to last four days, but controllers ended it early “due to a small leak in one of the company’s innovative new altitude-control balloon systems.

The Stratollite is designed to operate at altitudes up to 28.5 miles (45.8 kilometers) for weeks or months at a time. The vehicle allows researchers access to a hard-to-study region that’s higher than most airplanes can reach but too low for satellites, World View representatives have said

KFC signed on to this Stratollite test mission as a way to market the company’s Zinger chicken sandwich. KFC representatives have billed the mission as a trip to space, but Stratollites don’t get that high; the boundary line for space is generally regarded to lie 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface.

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