Space tourism is all the rage these days, but there might be another option soon — think space-age weather balloon as opposed to cutting-edge spaceship.
New space tourism firm World View Experience plans to use a giant balloon to send would-be space tourists to the edge of space. If the tech pans out, it could be a heck of a lot cheaper than using rockets. According to Popular Science, the company recently completed a successful test flight to more than 19 miles (102,200 feet) into the air.
That’s right around the target height the company wants to hit for space tourism, as it's right at the edge of our atmosphere and would allow someone to see the inky blackness above and the curve of the Earth below. Not bad for a souped-up balloon ride. Participants will be riding along in an eight-person flight capsule attached to a parawing (which is then attached to the super-balloon).
The best part? Instead of the $250,000 you might pay for a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight, a ticket to the World View Experience is just $75,000. Sure, still not the cheapest thing around, but still a whole lot less than any other space tourism options.
Though the initial test flight didn’t carry any real-life human beings, it was loaded with a ton of experimental tech from Montana State University and the University of North Florida. which measured the stratosphere’s ozone gas and sent back high-def video of the event. It also proved that the concept should be able to work safely once they start flying passengers in 2016.
Would you be willing to take a balloon to the edge of space?
(Via Popular Science)