To see the edge of the world. It’s cities of clouds, roaming atop a smooth blue surface. To see the greatness of the curve, our world’s true horizon line. What an adventure that would be? This is the dream of World View Enterprises, one of the space-tourism companies that seem to be popping up more and more these days. They just had a successful test flight, and this event may have just actualized their dream. What exactly did they test flight? It was a hot air balloon.
I’m not talking about your momma’s rainbow speckled hot air balloon, or even Steve Fosset’s cramped gondola carrying Roziere balloon. I’m talking about a luxurious capsule lifted 120,000 feet only to be released and parachuted back to the ground.
The balloon is a parafoil balloon, which was used by Felix Baumgartner in 2012 to make his insane jump that had him skydiving 24 miles and reaching a speed of over 843 mph.
Along with the parafoil balloon, attached to the capsul is a parawing (a steerable parachute) is used to glide back down to a predetermined landing site with the same kind of aero-precision that is showcased in this video.
Air & Water
The trip is meant to be luxurious, and at $75,000 dollars, it better well damn be. The point is, as opposed to other forms of space-tourism, clients don’t have to undergo any intensive training. All they have to do is sit back and enjoy the view, and possibly a delicious beverage as well. There will be a short safety briefing, but no more painful than what one is subjected to on an airplane flight. It truly is all about the luxury. And that $75, 000 is a competitive price. I recently discussed going to space on the Lynx Mark II shuttle voyage, and that, assuming you don’t win the raffle, costs $100,000. It also involves intensive training to make sure you’re prepared to be launched into space. It is also possible to fail this training, in which case, no space for you. World View Enterprises take on the matter is that the true benefit of venturing into space is to enjoy the majesty of our Earth. A slow trip up allows you to savor that experience.
The event of lifting actual people into space will happen sometime in 2016.