- World View Enterprises launched a decade ago with the goal of sending humans to the stratosphere
- It departed from that initial goal, instead focusing on putting science and technology payloads into the stratosphere.
- However, it is now expected that humans will move to the stratosphere by 2024 due to the drop in costs.
- The new capsules will carry eight people up to 18 miles above the surface and give a view of Earth
- It will operate 100 flights per year to places of cultural, historical and natural beauty around the world
A space tourism firm says it will be able to send you into the stratosphere in a balloon by 2024, but a seat on a commercial flight will set you back £36,700 ($50,000).
World View Enterprises is working on a balloon-based system in Tucson, Arizona, where it says it will carry people to altitudes of 100,000 feet, or 18 miles.
It’s a little over 50 miles from what NASA considers space, but World View says its passengers will see the curvature of the Earth and the darkening of space.
The rides are expected to last around six to eight hours, but they plan to offer a five-day adventure that will see passengers fly over historic sites.
World View says each site will be an area of natural beauty, or cultural and historical significance – including the Great Barrier Reef, the Pyramids of Giza, and other landmarks.
Artist’s impression of the capsule returning to Earth over the Arizona desert. Future flights will operate from beauty destinations around the world
The final design of the capsule has not been confirmed, however, as shown by this artist’s impression, it is likely to have lots of windows for a view to the outside.
The forward balloons will be used to cushion the landing when passengers return to Earth for up to eight hours after takeoff. artist’s impression
layers of the atmosphere
Troposphere is where humans live and weather exists, the lowest layer extending for about six miles.
stratosphere It extends for about 40 miles and contains most of the ozone in the atmosphere.
mesosphere Sits just above the stratosphere where the temperature decreases with altitude, reaching -130F.
outer atmosphere This is where the temperature begins to rise with altitude, due to the absorption of UV and X-rays.
exosphere starts at 310 miles and contains oxygen and hydrogen atoms, but in much smaller numbers.
magnetosphere Charged particles are characterized along magnetic field lines in two bands between 1,800 and 10,000 miles from the surface.
Each capsule carrying people into the stratosphere will be able to carry eight passengers, and the ride is described as ‘smooth and gentle’.
Unlike other space tourism options, such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, which include some rocket travel and G-Force, World View says its options suit all ages and fitness levels.
The firm says that the trip to the stratosphere will be a mild climb, which will end in observance of the Earth’s curve.
CEO Ryan Hartman says the ambition is to ‘change the conversation around space tourism’, adding that it is not a joyride, it is ‘much bigger and more important.’
“We are redefining space tourism for participants by spending hours at Apogee, creating memories about some of Earth’s most spectacular wonders,” he said.
The firm, which has recently focused on sending scientific payloads into the stratosphere using balloons, was founded on the idea of manned travel.
It has revived those plans, and has already sold its entire maiden flight to the non-profit Space for Humanity, which will provide the spaceflight experience to those who otherwise could not afford tickets.
The first flights will start from Page in Arizona, which is near the Grand Canyon, but they hope to add the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and other sites to the list of starting locations in the future.
Flights to the stratosphere, where the Earth’s curve will be visible, will start at £36,000 per seat in an eight-seat capsule
Hartmann says the service focuses on three key principles: location, time, affordability and access, which includes offering a ‘flexible financing option’.
The goal, Hartman said, is to offer a form of space travel with longer flights at a much lower cost than the suborbital flights offered by Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.
The firm is still working on the final design of the capsule, and needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before being able to offer commercial flights, but is confident the first flight will take place around 2024.
The passengers will be carried 18 miles above the surface in a capsule…