World View Enterprises from Arizona has successfully completed the first small-scale test balloon flight at high altitude. In the near future, the company plans to launch a space tourism project with the use of massive stratospheric balloons, which will be carrying passengers up to 32 kilometers above the Earth.
CEO of the company Jane Poynter said that the balloon, which was launched from the Roswell International Air Center in Roswell, New Mexico, broke the world record for the highest balloon flight, reaching 36 km. “We couldn’t be any more excited about the results from this test flight,” he said.
At the same time, it was the first flight that was completed using a stratospheric balloon and capsule. The balloon that was used for the test flight was similar to the one of the Austrian Felix Baumgartner who performed his famous free fall from space in 2012.
The company plans to launch passenger flights already in 2016 for $ 75 000 per person. Note that this is a ‘cheap’ option for those willing to fly to the ‘edge of space’, as Virgin Galactic is expected to start taking tourists to space next year for around $250,000 a ticket.
The balloons will carry a capsule with six passengers and two crew members to a height of 32 km above the Earth. The capsule will be big enough to allow passengers to walk around.
The main difference that makes the World View so special is that it offers a kind of space travel that differs from what has been heard so far. Passengers will have at least two hours at their disposal to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Earth. The ideas for space tourism proposed by other companies were more focused on the distance from the Earth than on the duration of the trip.
“We want to give people that experience of seeing the Earth from space for hours at a time and being able to contemplate the curvature of the Earth and all that comes with that experience. By all accounts, it’s just magical. We believe it can be a really transformative“, said Poynter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Image credits: worldviewexperience.com