If KFC’s spicy chicken sandwich is as great as its promotions make it out to be, the folks at World View should at least get a free lunch. They’ve been working hard to send the Zinger into space—an effort actor Rob Lowe teased in a commercial that started airing this past spring.
A new filing pending with the FCC seeks a special temporary authority (STA) to ensure that World View can use a backup launch site in Page, Arizona, if the previously identified launch site in Benson, Arizona, is unavailable.
A World View company spokesperson declined to comment to FierceWirelessTech beyond the application.
“The purpose of the operation is to send command signals to a stratospheric balloon and to receive telemetry down from the balloon. The proposed operations will also include integration testing on the ground,” World View's filing stated. The requested period of operation includes a start date of June 18 and end date of July 16.
World View was hired earlier this year to find a way to launch KFC's spicy chicken sandwich—new to the U.S. this year—into the stratosphere as part of the chicken chain's marketing campaign.
“Will it be easy? No. Will it be hard? Yes, we’ve already covered that. Will it be worth it? We’ll have to see how the camera attached to the chicken survives the launch," Lowe said in the TV ad. "But there is one question that we will be able to answer with certainty very soon. Can you actually launch KFC’s world famous Zinger chicken sandwich into space? And the answer is, we certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on it."
World View was granted authority in May to conduct tests ahead of KFC’s plan to launch the sandwich into space this summer. In a previous FCC application, World View explained that KFC’s Zinger product launch plan included taking the sandwich literally to the edge of space. The original, unidentified company that KFC hired to assist with that portion of the product launch backed out, leading the fast food chain to reach out to World View.
Plans at that time called for the balloon to be launched from Benson, Arizona, in June. But this latest filing indicates that World View is concerned that weather concerns may require it to launch from Page.
Once the balloon is launched, it will ascend to and operate between 65,000 and 80,000 feet. If the launch takes place in Page, the command and control links will maneuver the balloon on a path south, so that the key operations will take place when the balloon is floating over the surrounding Tucson region.
High-resolution images of the Zinger at the edge of space will be transmitted down to the ground station at World View’s headquarters. The overall system will use compression to optimize the use of spectrum for the transmissions, according to the application.
Vendors listed on the application include Airborne Innovations and Canada's Microhard.