People, Travel

American Firm to Launch Space Tourism Balloon

American Firm to Launch Space Tourism BalloonAmerican Firm to Launch Space Tourism Balloon

The Arizona-based company World View Enterprises plans to launch a new service for customers that want to see the Earth from the stratosphere from a giant balloon as of  2017.

However, the experience will not be a cheap one; every passenger will pay $75,000 to see the world from an altitude of 100,000 feet.

The huge balloon will be filled with helium and its gentle floating through the stratosphere will last for about two hours. The passengers will ride pressurized capsules and will be accompanied by crew members. The total flight will take 5 or 6 hours to complete and will cover a 300-mile distance, Travel Wires reported.

World View chief technology officer and ex safety officer for StratEx (Stratospheric Exploration) program, Taber MacCallum, declared that StratEx “was really a foundational project for World View, to run through essentially all the phases of flight that we would have with a capsule, only in a one-person version”.

It was essentially a scale model, as the basics of World View’s flight system have already been developed and need to be integrated and tested before the beginning of commercial flights.

If everything goes according to plan, the first test flights will begin in mid-2017 and commercial operations will be available for the customers beginning late 2017, MacCallum added.

The world View experience is considered to be an “entry-level drug” for future space tourists, as two other companies currently offer space rocket rides: Virgin Galacitc and XCOR.

“I actually think the balloon experience is probably like the entry drug,” MacCallum said. “What’s nice about that is they [customers] have already had the time to contemplate the view, so then when you go do the Virgin Galactic or the XCOR experience, you can enjoy the rocket ride.”