The Time Little Debbie Cosmic Cupcakes Went To Space

If you are a fan of sweet snacks, then you might think Little Debbie is out of this world. The famous packaged snack brand is known for its wide variety of sweets, from its Zebra Cakes and Cosmic Brownies to its Swiss Rolls and Oatmeal Creme Pies (via Little Debbie). In 2014, the brand decided that not even the sky was the limit for a new product. 

Per The University of Tennessee Chattanooga Blog, the development team behind Little Debbie's famous sweets decided to combine two of its most popular products, the Cosmic Brownie and Chocolate Cupcakes, to create the brand new Cosmic Cupcake, which included the best of both worlds into one chocolate treat. And to celebrate the launch of the new Cosmic Cupcake in the most memorable way possible, Little Debbie teamed up with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga STEM Learning Center to send its cosmic snack item straight into outer space. On March 19, 2014, the group fastened the Cosmic Cupcake to a weather balloon, outfitted with multiple GoPro cameras and a GPS tracker, and shot it into space. Joining it on the journey was a fearless leader, a little astronaut bobblehead named Commander Little Debbie.

Little Debbie has been to space before

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga Blog explains that the idea was for the space-bound cupcake to fly an astonishing 18 miles into space. If all went as planned, after a roughly 110-mile trip, it would land somewhere around the Nantahala National Forest (via Nooga Today). Thanks to the GPS tracking device and the GoPro cameras, those on the ground were able to keep tabs on the edible astronaut. However, the cupcake and captain would be on their own after descending. "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," McKee Foods' public relations manager Michael Gloekler said.

The big launch was attended by local schoolchildren, as well as meteorologist Paul Barys, McKee Foods' employees, and Little Debbie's Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chris McKee, who gave a presentation in honor of the launch. But while that was certainly a momentous occasion for Little Debbie fans across the universe, that wasn't the first time a Little Debbie treat has made it into space. All the way back in 1991, the brand's seasonal Pumpkin Delights, along with a few other snacks, accompanied the astronauts on their mission into space on board the space shuttle Atlantis (via Little Debbie's website). So it turns out Little Debbie snack cakes aren't just popular here on earth – they are quite the hit in outer space as well.