Luxury Looks at Planet Earth

October 22nd, 2013

Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.

Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.

Imagine yourself tucked inside a luxuriously appointed space-qualified capsule, then lifted by a high altitude balloon to over 18 miles (30 kilometers).

On location, you and fellow passengers will remain aloft for approximately two hours before gliding back to Earth via parachute.

It’s a trek into “nearspace” being offered by World View Enterprises, Inc. of Tucson, Arizona.

Observational windows

Ascending to the edge of space, passengers will see the transition from horizon to the blackness of space, and also view the curvature of the Earth.

Through observational windows, travelers can eye the brilliance of stars and the thin veil of atmosphere enveloping our planet, “scenes previously witnessed exclusively by astronauts,” according to the company.

The up and going price for the ride: $75,000.

Transformative experience

The World View venture is led by experts in high-altitude ballooning, and veterans of human spaceflight and environmental control and life support systems, the firm noted in a press release.

The entire platform is rooted in technologies that have been successfully used for decades.

“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 Jane Poynter, CEO of World View.

Subscale testing soon underway

Poynter added that a goal of the organization is to open up a whole new realm for exercising human curiosity, scientific research and education.

“We look forward to pioneering this new, accessible and affordable spaceflight regime, and to sharing the breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experience with people from around the globe,” Poynter said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently determined that World View’s spacecraft and its operations fall under the jurisdiction of the office of Commercial Space Flight.

Paragon Space Development Corporation is the vehicle developer.

According to a company press statement, subscale testing will soon get underway, demonstrating the flight characteristics of the overall integrated system.

By Leonard David