‘Imagine rising into the stillness of a sunrise, gently ascending under a balloon. Floating into the blackness of space, you gaze at the curvature of the Earth below.’ This is how the experience of travelling to near-space is described. A start-up company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, in the US is exploring new frontiers in the space tourism industry. The company gives the voyagers a five-hour life-time experience of air travel in upper atmosphere.
World View is a capsule that is powered by a helium balloon. It takes about 90 minutes to reach its maximum altitude of 100,000 feet. The first class cabin of the World View is designed by British studio Priestmangoode, which is known for designing the luxurious cabins of Malaysian and Thai Airlines.
The riders will spend two hours complimenting the earth from a perspective they never experienced before. The balloon will then be disconnected from the capsule and so shall begin the free-fall. ‘A parafoil above the capsule would become increasingly effective in the thickening air and the capsule would glide to the surface, landing on skids.’
The voyagers are not expected to be fun-seekers only. It also provides a variety of advantages for research and education. The flight in World View balloon is steady and the riders will get to have more observations. They will also get more time to collect samples. The developers claim that the launch cost is 600 times less than a Soyuz flight and 30x less expensive than a Black Brant sounding rocket. The lower speed will ease many kinds of atmospheric and meteoritic sampling.
The six -passenger and two pilot- capsule’s ticket will cost $75,000 and the flights begin within three years. Any plans on starting savings?