Take a balloon ride into space

Have you ever dreamed of flying into outer space?

You may be able to make your dreams a reality in the coming years, thanks to a new balloon flight by Arizona start-up World View Experience, which will offer high-altitude balloon rides at a little less than 100,000 feet high.

“Seeing the Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize our connection to our home planet and to the universe around us, and will surely offer a transformative experience to our customers,” said Jany Poynter, CEO of World View. “It is also our goal to open up a whole new realm for exercising human curiosity, scientific research and education.”

The ride is a gentle, one-and-a-half- to two-hour climb through Earth’s atmosphere in a luxurious, space-qualified capsule. Once the balloon reaches its peak above the Earth’s atmosphere, passengers will get a chance to see what’s only been seen before in science books and by a handful of astronauts: the bright blue and white curve of our planet and brilliant stars against the darkness of space.

Passengers get to soak up the space sights for two hours before the helium balloon is released, allowing for the capsule to free-fall back to Earth with a special parafoil that allows for control over speed and direction. From the edge of space, it will take about 20- to 40-minutes to land.

While an altitude of 100,000 feet may not technically be considered “space” according to international guidelines, the Federal Aviation Administration considers World View’s balloon and capsule a “space vehicle.”

Space has recently become the next frontier for travel, with companies like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic already delving into the space tourism market.

Seeing the earth from space won’t come cheap, though: The World View Experience ride costs $75,000 a pop. But for views of outer space, it just might be the trip of a lifetime.

For more information on these commercial balloon rides into space, check out the World View Experience website.


(All images courtesy of World View Enterprises, Inc.)

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