Near-space balloon rides are being prepared by the company World View for people who don’t want to pay the steep price for rides up above the Earth.
“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,” World View CEO Jane Poynter said in a statement. “It is also our goal to open up a whole new realm for exercising human curiosity, scientific research and education.”
The rides cost $75,000 each, and take people 19 miles or around 100,000 feet up into the Earth’s atmosphere.
“It is also our goal to open up a whole new realm for exercising human curiosity, scientific research and education,” said Poynter. “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.”
The ride is a lot cheaper compared to the current ticket price of a ride on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo, which is $250,000. Virgin’s spaceship is slated to take people up to 68 miles high.
The point of the balloon trip is more of a great view than getting into space.
“You can be sitting up there having your beverage of choice watching this extraordinary spectacle of the Earth below you and the blackness of space,” Poynter told Discovery News.
“It really is very gentle. You can be up at altitude for hours, for days for research if you need to be,” said Poynter. “I think we have the opportunity to give a really, really incredible experience to people — and for a lot less than most of what’s out on the market right now.”
World View says that it should be ready for passenger flights as early as 2016. Tickets are expected to start selling in a few months.
The firm is eyeing the launching site Spaceport America in New Mexico for its first flights, the same place that Virgin’s flights are to launch out of.