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World View launches chicken sandwich in test ballon flight

Capitalism in space: The first test flight of World View’s stratospheric balloon has begun, carrying with it as well a KFC chicken sandwich.

The sandwich is scheduled to remain aloft for four days and maintain an altitude of about 50,000 to 80,000 feet (15,200 to 24,400 meters). During the flight, which is serving as an advertising campaign for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the company will execute various activities to engage the public over social media, including a coupon drop, in which a coupon will literally be dropped from the balloon down to Earth. “The team on the ground here is justifiably celebrating as they watch their months of hard work pay off,” the video announcer said. “This is the greatest achievement in chicken sandwich space travel history. In all my years in this business I’ve certainly never seen anything like it. What a time to be alive.”

The Zinger-1 mission will serve as a test flight for World View, which aims to make stratospheric balloons that can remain in flight for months at a time. The flight is scheduled to be the first “extended-duration development flight of [World View’s] high-altitude Stratollite vehicle,” according to a statement from the company.

The chicken sandwich stuff is pure pr, and completely silly. It helped pay for the mission, however, which is not so silly.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • wayne

    KFC Chamber Test Zinger 1 Mission

  • LocalFluff

    That’s fun! They have a whole series of commercials on the theme.
    They don’t chicken out. Orbital speed for fast food. Fried in the van Allen BBQ.

  • Edward

    That is a hilarious advertisement. When they cut to what the actual test looked like, I laughed myself out of my chair, because that is just what an actual test would look like (except for the comfortable chair). The graveyard shift on a spacecraft’s thermal vacuum test is amazingly boring (unless something goes wrong, then it is all excitement), but it never dawned on me to drag a comfortable lounge chair into the test room. Come to think of it, a comfortable chair would have put me to sleep.

    By the way, for an altitude test, the cardboard is probably OK, but when you are trying to get a hard vacuum, cardboard (and wood, closed-cell foam rubber, nylon, and dead rats) outgas forever. (Please don’t ask me which, but — embarrassingly — I know one of these from personal experience and the rest from stories from fellow vacuum chamber users.)

    Is this thing up there right now, or is this site simulating it?

  • wayne


    yeah–I noticed that. The one paraphrasing JFK’s ‘to the moon’ speech, is pretty good. (I just wonder if anyone below the age of 40-50 will get it.)
    I’ve seen a few of these KFC adverts on TV, but I do not like the new Col Sanders-Guy, so I never really listened to the words closely.

    (totally tangential–look up the “Allstate Mayhem” series of commercials at YouTube, absolutely hilarious. “Your 15-minute insurance, isn’t paying for this…)

  • wayne

    thanks for that link, I had missed it.

    Yes, it was actually sent aloft today, so I assume the telemetry is “real.” There is a brief launch video, showing the balloon being inflated, etc. It should show up in the “recommended-for-you column,” at YouTube, if you spend any time watching these.

    Highly enjoy your tales from working in the industry!

    I occasionally got caught up in few all-nighter’s earning my keep, when my Professor was testing amphetamine, Ritalin, and placebo, on rats. Had to make sure the food & water dispenser’s, and all the counters, remained functioning. (We took bets amongst ourselves on which subjects had received the “active ingredient.”)

  • LocalFluff

    Flied sicken in pace!
    I think space is womewhat catching on in popular culture. A little. Slowly.

    Soyuz will launch “Mayak” (=beacon) on July 14 with another funny payload. A cubesat (or maybe bucket sat?) that unfolds to a 16 square meter surface to become brighter than any star on the night sky.

    The small sat explosion (metaphorically speaking) could lead to some funny things like this.

  • wayne

    Colonel Harland Sanders shows Tennessee Ernie Ford & Minnie Pearl how he cooks his KFC chicken

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