For the eco-friendly space tourists out there, you can touch the stars in a balloon – and you won’t need to enter Squid Game to pay back the debt.
Once upon a time, when the US launched its early Apollo missions and Russia was blasting its own cosmonauts into orbit, the world was obsessed with space.
More than 50 years after we first set foot on the moon, it’s come back to the fore as the rich and powerful compete in their own space race, aimed at opening up the world above us to the people stuck on the ground.
For the moment, a trip to space is still bloody expensive: a Virgin Galactic flight will set you back around $450,000; flying with Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin is said to be closer to $1 million, if not more; and while official prices haven’t been revealed, I wouldn’t bank on a bargain for SpaceX.
World View is looking to change that (a bit) with space travel in a balloon. ‘The ability to ascend to 100,000 feet and have a balloon that has zero pressure on it is really important,’ president and CEO Ryan Hartman said.
‘What that means is that the pressure on the inside is identical to the pressure on the outside and that being the case, if you have a hole in the balloon, it’s not like it’s going to pop or anything.’
World View takes an eco-friendly approach to space travel, with the balloon being filled with helium to give passengers a steadier lift.
‘So it’s one thing to blast off to the edge of space in a rocket and view the Earth. I don’t believe you’re having a net-positive contribution to a healing planet, whereas using an approach where you’re using a natural resource from the Earth and not polluting as a result of it and then you bring people down that have a new-found respect for the planet, that is a net-positive contribution and that is our focus here,’ Hartman said.
The balloons will ascend to 100,000ft, but there won’t be any weightless antics during the adventure. ‘Our opinion is that weightlessness is a distraction from what the actual experience is, which is viewing the curvature of the Earth, viewing it as a living organism, viewing the beauty of it, viewing the fragility of it, all of those things – that’s what our experience is all about,’ Hartman said.
Not sure about that one, chief. However, you can’t argue with the price: World View is offering tickets for as low as $50,000. You can also put down a deposit of $500 for flights taking off in 2024.
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