• Dr Alex Baker

A chicken nugget in space: Happy 50 years to Iceland

I know what you’re thinking… yes, we launched a chicken nugget into space to celebrate Iceland’s 50th birthday. And yes, if you’re wondering why, there is more of an answer than “it sounded like a funny image”... but we admit that was certainly an important part of it.



The humble chicken nugget has been a culinary staple since the 1950s. Created by scientists at Cornell University as an easily preservable source of tasty protein, the chicken nugget is perhaps best known as a fast food item, but it’s also a favourite choice for simple home cooking. Indeed, since frozen food giant Iceland was founded 50 years ago, the chicken nugget has consistently been among the most popular items on their shelves. In recent years, they have actually been the biggest retailer of chicken nuggets in the UK, beating Aldi and Tescos for the crispy bite-sized crown.


That’s right, Iceland asked us to launch a chicken nugget into space to mark the 50th anniversary of their store opening. From a site in rural Wales, the nugget travelled through the Earth’s atmosphere to an altitude of 110,000 feet (that’s 33.5km) where it floated in the region known as Near Space.


Near Space is the region between our livable atmosphere and Outer Space, and it starts at around 19,000 metres up when the atmospheric pressure reaches the Armstrong Limit. Named for a US Air Force pilot who conducted research on our atmosphere in the 1950s, the Armstrong Limit is the altitude at which water’s boiling point is equal to human body temperature, meaning a human requires a pressurised suit to survive.

Beyond this point, the nugget spent an hour floating up and around in space. Being a frozen nugget, it was unbothered by the low pressure and the extremely cold temperatures, which drop as low as -65°C!


Of course, launching a nugget into space was a bit of a fun way to get some attention for Iceland’s brand, and with the power of good PR behind the stunt, this little chunk of chicken generated plenty of press coverage. In the past few days, our launch has been seen on Fox News, ITV News and TV Asahi in Japan, as well as appearing in the Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and a host of online publications like LadBible, MSN News and Yahoo! News. Impressive coverage for a simple snack food!


Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve launched food into space—and drinks both alcoholic and soft have seen a fair bit of action as well. If your brand has a connection to food and drink, a quirky space launch is a surprisingly effective way of drawing some press attention. To find out more, talk to our team today.

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