An Arizona start-up World View Enterprises is aiming to cash in on the latest space tourism trend that sends paying customers to the edge of space and give them awe-inspiring view that Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner looked down upon from 24 miles above the earth last year, smashing the sound barrier during his descent and landing safely on earth in exchange for a ticket that’s worth $75,000.
A Unique Balloon Ride
The space tour planned by World View is a unique balloon ride to the “space” where passengers are offered space-like scenes for about two hours from 19 miles above the planet Earth. And while 19 miles above the Earth is not officially space – which starts at 62 miles, the planned space tour needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration as the agency overseeing the commercial space. The FAA explained that the space tour must meet the safety requirements in the same manner a piloted spacecraft orbiting the Earth is required.
A View Like No Other
The company is optimistic that they can start flight tests of a demonstration vehicle within the year in Arizona. Passengers will then have to wait about three years or 2016 for their space expedition to commence. Initial plans have it that two pilots and 6 passengers would be aboard a capsule of extremely high pressure which is still in the development process.
Flying Balloons are Nothing New
There have been balloons of this size that have already flown up many, many times for decades and from a technical point of view, the task is incredibly doable, as explained by the company’s Chairwoman and President Jane Poynter.
It’s About Getting That Amazing View
The whole thing about the space tour is the view of the earth and seeing its curve, and not about passengers experiencing weightlessness or staying afloat.
.. And A Transforming Experience
The interior of the capsule will be roomy enough for all eight passengers to walk around and even have a drink at an on-board bar, seeing the Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize their connection to their home planet and the universe. The experience is expected to offer a transformative experience to the passengers.
Making The Balloon Ride Accessible
The company is looking forward to being the pioneer to this new, affordable and accessible spaceflight era where people can share their breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime experience with people from around the world.
Space Tour Capsule
The space tour capsules under development would be propelled by a 40 million cubic foot helium balloon, with a maneuverable parafoil which is a wing-shaped inflatable parachute of very special nylon fabric or other materials, which would guide them gently once detached from the giant helium balloon.
Who Will Avail This Ride?
While there are other space tourism ventures, the number has not reached the point to call it growing.
With a few very privileged people that have paid tens of millions of dollars to fly to the International Space Station and a few others that have paid to fly in high altitude jets, you’re bound to ask, “How many people will pay for near space experiences?”