Little Debbie launched into space to celebrate new Cosmic Cupcake

Authored By seanphippster

Officials with McKee Foods-the Collegedale-based company that makes Little Debbie snack cakes-launched an astronaut-themed Little Debbie bobblehead into space this morning at UTC’s Challenger STEM Learning Center.

The event marked the official debut of Little Debbie’s new Cosmic Cupcake. The product is a marriage of Little Debbie’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Cosmic Brownies and is now available at retailers nationwide.

A Cosmic Cupcake features chocolate cake filled with fluffy cream, topped with chocolate frosting and candy-coated chocolate chips.

Following a brief presentation by Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chris McKee, guests were invited outside to view the launch.

The weather balloon was attached to a rig, and GoPro cameras and a GPS tracking device were placed on the contraption.

People are invited to track the balloon’s progress live.

Students from The Bright School observe as the team prepares the weather balloon for liftoff. (Photo: Staff)

Paul Barys, WRCB-TV’s chief meteorologist, was on hand to provide a demonstration of how weather balloons work.

It was anticipated the balloon would travel approximately 110 miles and climb to 98,000 feet before landing “somewhere in the Nantahala National Forest.”

Michael Gloekler is the corporate communications and public relations manager for McKee Foods. He was excited to give fourth-graders from The Bright School an opportunity to watch the launch.

“Once we partnered with the Challenger Center and realized their mission and the existing McKee tie to the center, it made sense for us to involve the children that are here today,” Gloekler said. “So they’re going to have an opportunity to watch this weather balloon launch, hear about weather balloons from an expert and hear about what the Little Debbie bobblehead doll is going to be going through at the various levels of atmosphere.”

A “test run” of the launch took place in Alabama. During the test, the bobblehead ended up landing in Bridgeport, Ala., at a small airport.  

Gloekler said that although the company plans to track the flight path of the bobblehead, they have no plans to try to retrieve it.

“Whoever comes across the balloon is not only going to have a Little Debbie bobblehead that’s been in space, but they’re also going to have three GoPro cameras and a GPS device,” he said.

In February, McKee Foods donated $10,000 to the UTC Challenger STEM Learning Center. The center’s mission control is now named in honor of the late Ruth McKee, who was an original founder of the company in 1934.

McKee Foods is best known for Little Debbie and Sunbelt Bakery products. The company employs 5,200 people nationwide and about 2,750 in the Chattanooga area.