Travel To The Edge Of Space In A Balloon For $75k
The commercial space industry is absolutely booming at the moment, opening up many exciting avenues for adventurers with large wallets. If you're willing to part with a significant amount of cash there are a whole host of options available for a civilian to enter, or at least get close to, space. Now, one of those options is travelling 19 miles to the 'edge of space'....by balloon power.
World View Enterprises Inc will offer the trips for the price tag of $75,000 per person, with up to 8 people travelling in one pressurized capsule. World View's CEO said in a statement "Seeing Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize our connection to our home planet and the universe around us, and will surely offer a transformative experience to our customers."
The World View experience will give passengers around 2 hours of gliding time at maximum altitude, during which, they will be surrounded by the blackness of space and clearly able to see the planet Earth curving off in the distance. However, don't believe all the marketing materials you read on the World View experience. The altitude of 19 miles at which the balloon and capsule will hover is some way short of the 62 miles defined as the edge of space. So, how does the World View experience stack up against it's competitors in the space tourism market.
One of World View's best known competitors will be Virgin Galactic with whom $250,000 will get you a seat on 'Spaceship Two', which allows passengers to experience a brief period of weightlessness as it breaches the 62 mile mark. A trip on XCOR's Lynx Spaceplane will be available to customers for $95,000, taking passengers to similar heights as Spaceship Two.
Both XCOR and Virgin Galactic will offer passengers the thrill of experiencing weightlessness, if only for a few minutes. However, what World View's balloon rides will give is the pure tranquility of high altitude flight minus the rockets. You'll also get a great deal more time to sample the view, with 2 hours clocking in way ahead of the fleeting minutes provided by others in the market.
So it would seem that Space Tourism has now reached a point where it is not only for the thrill seekers. Those looking for a milder, more reflective experience can have their fun too, while leaving the likes of Virgin Galactic and XCOR for the adrenaline junkies.