A 'Discount' Option for Space Travel?
It's a bold tagline for a start-up: "Your view of the world is about to change." But World View Enterprises means that quite literally.
The Tuscon-based company released plans earlier this week to offer passengers a physically-out-of-this-world view of the Earth's curvature, with commercial balloon trips up to an altitude of 19 miles. The trip would include two hours at altitude, following a few hours of ascent in a balloon gondola designed to hold two pilots and six passengers.
Tests are in progress on components for the pressurized gondola and balloon.
World View CEO Jane Poynter called the company a "new, accessible and affordable spaceflight regime." The $75,000 price tag sort of is, relative to the $250,000 suborbital space rides that Virgin Galactic is planning to launch next year. According to NBC News, World View plans to start offering its first balloon rides no earlier than 2016, though tickets will go on sale in the next few months.
"I am thrilled about the idea of giving people the experience of seeing Earth from space," Poynter told NBC.
Watch the company's imagining of one ethereal ascent and ride in the video below:
All images courtesy World View Enterprises.