Space tourism company to charge $ 50,000 for stratospheric hot air balloon flight

World View Enterprises based in Tucson, Ariz., Wants to reduce the cost of space tourism by sending people into the stratosphere in a capsule lifted by a huge balloon, a press release from the company reveals.

Although space tourism is simply too expensive for the vast majority of humans, progress is slowly being made in making space more accessible. Just yesterday, on October 5, for example, the first film crew to ever film in space was launched to the International Space Station (ISS). Just a month ago, SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 mission was the first fully civilian orbital operation to go into space. This launch cost $ 200 million, less than the first suborbital space tourism launches from Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, which cost $ 250 million and $ 450 million, respectively.

The next step, perhaps, in the evolution of space accessibility is stratospheric balloon flight. Several companies, including Florida-based Space Perspective and Barcelona-based Zero 2 Infinity, have performed preliminary tests aimed at potentially sending humans for a tour of the stratosphere. World View Enterprise’s new offering will cost a fraction of the price of rocket and space plane operations, and even be cheaper than the companies mentioned above, both of which aim to offer stratospheric balloon flights for over $ 100. $ 000.

Gradually opening up space to the masses

Much like other space tourism companies, the goal of Space View is to allow civilians to experience the mind-altering glimpse effect. In its press release, the company said “World View’s mission is to bring as many people as possible to the edge of space so that at 100,000 feet (~ 30 km) they see a world without borders or species and return motivated to make the world a better place. The company believes that by reaching a critical mass of people who know what has been called the Bigger Effect, humanity will be able to dramatically improve the future of our fragile Earth. “

Unlike space tourism trips aboard a rocket, passengers will rise slowly and gradually into the stratosphere. The company lists several locations from which it aims to take off, including the Grand Canyon and Norway, where passengers will get a close-up view of the Northern Lights.

World View’s stratospheric balloon technically does not enter space, although it does provide an impressive sight. Source: Worldview

Although the World View balloon will technically not reach space – some define the start of space as the Kármán line to 330,000 feet (100 km) and others not – it will reach altitudes that will allow passengers to see the curvature of the Earth and the dark expanse of space. Additionally, the company plans to charge $ 50,000 per passenger, which is “significantly lower than any other civilian space tourism flight available today,” the company said. The trips will also last between six and 12 hours, compared to less than half an hour in space in the case of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

World View says its first commercial flights are expected to take place in early 2024, although it must first achieve FAA certification. The company adds that it will offer flexible financing options for those who want to see the space at least once in their lifetime. If all goes according to plan, a trip to space – at least the edge of it – could soon cost the price of a car instead of a superyacht.

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