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  STS-51L: Kentucky Fried Chicken "CHIX" patch

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Author Topic:   STS-51L: Kentucky Fried Chicken "CHIX" patch
Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-06-2013 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "CHIX in Space" patch was a souvenir issue provided by Kentucky Fried Chicken for a student experiment aboard space shuttle Challenger on Mission 51L. It was going to be an experiment to study the effects of weightlessness on 32 chicken embryos.

About an hour(+) after the Challenger launch tragedy, one of the Joint Industry Press Center (JIPC) reps at the time (the site's manager), wanted me to keep a bunch of the Kentucky Fried Chicken "CHIX IN SPACE" cloth patches since the KFC public relations rep was leaving the facility and not planning to return because of the tragedy.

He left behind a small box of the patches, mostly there as give-a-ways to badged news media folks covering STS-51L in Jan. 1986.

The site's manager kept them with her until closure of the joint press center after the tragedy. During my last visit there on launch day, around 1 p.m. or so, Carol wanted me to have/keep the remainder of the boxed patches, which I did.

FullThrottle
Member

Posts: 88
From: Seattle, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 04-06-2013 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FullThrottle   Click Here to Email FullThrottle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting this! Do you know anything else about the Kentucky Fried experiment? I've seen mention of this patch and the experiment in the past but no details into either.

STS-51L was on my 5th birthday, I have always been interested in the orbiter Challenger's missions, trivia and nick-nacks...

Any further information that collectSPACE members have on fried chicken in space would be great to read!

george9785
Member

Posts: 175
From: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-06-2013 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for george9785   Click Here to Email george9785     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a press kit relating to the experiment that I will be posting on eBay soon. Included with the kit is a patch and photo. Here's the photo:

 photo SANY0072_zps5ae6e4ea.jpg

Briefly, as Ken advised, the experiment was to study the effects of weightlessness on embryo development.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-06-2013 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is an official KFC press kit folder that I have along with other "Chix In Space" technical, experiment, and crew interaction releases, photos, and reports.

If anything specific is needed, let us know, as I see that Canada's "george9785" is
planning to post the official press kit soon.

Just off the bat, though, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Purdue University, John Vellinger, had designed and built a special incubator to cradle the 32 fertile chicken eggs that were aboard Challenger.

He was the experiment's designer, of Lafayette, IN, and won the 1983 NASA National Science Competition with his "Chix In Space" embryo development study under zero-gravity conditions.

The "Chix In Space" project was funded by a grant from Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. with their headquarters in Louisville, KY.

I wonder what Vellinger is doing and working on these days? He would be in his late 40s now.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-06-2013 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
I wonder what Vellinger is doing and working on these days? He would be in his late 40s now.
Today, Vellinger is the President and CEO of Techshot Lighting, a manufacturer of rugged and energy efficient LED lighting products for military customers and disaster relief agencies.

Techshot has a page on its website describing the Chix in Space experiment.

george9785
Member

Posts: 175
From: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-06-2013 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for george9785   Click Here to Email george9785     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Vellinger, student experimenter, and Mark Deuser, Kentucky Fried Chicken Sponsor, are shown explaining the Chicken Embryo experiment to the STS-29 crew:

All times are CT (US)

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