Eyes on the skies
JANE POYNTER WANTS TO TAKE YOU HIGHER IN A VERY BIG BALLOON —AND GIVE SCIENCE A LIFT TOO
Jane Poynter’s balloon brought fried chicken to the edge of space. Someday the craft could go to Mars.
NOTHING DRAWS ATTENTION TO YOUR NEW PRODUCT LIKE USING it to send fast food into space. In June, Arizona-based World View demonstrated the potential of its pioneering stratollite—a sort of mini satellite that uses a high-altitude balloon to take payloads into the stratosphere—by partnering with KFC to ferry a 5-ounce piece of fried fowl 77,000 feet into the desert sky. “We took a frail chicken sandwich, launched it into space for 17 hours, and when it came back, it was perfect,” says World View CEO Jane Poynter.
Poynter’s ultimate goal is to send tourists to the edge of space, tethered to the company’s balloons, and to make the final frontier more accessible for research. Stratollites are inexpensive, compact, and highly maneuverable, ideal for monitoring weather patterns and providing military reconnaissance or emergency communications during natural disasters. They can also do what traditional satellites can’t: spend months stationary above a specific location.