Starting in 2016, World View Enterprises, a space tourism company in Arizona, will send its clients up into the sky inside a pressurized capsule powered by a high-altitude hot-air balloon. For a cool $75,000, customers will reach a height of 19 miles above the Earth's surface, high enough to peek through the window and gaze at the planet's curvature. Kaley Briesmaster of World View Enterprises spoke to Metro about the thrill of seeing the earth's curves.
What's your flight program all about?
It will be a human spaceflight experience unlike any other suborbital opportunity being offered today. You will ride in a space-qualified, luxury-appointed spacecraft, large enough to walk around in. You will rise into the atmosphere, slowly and gently, not on a roaring rocket. You will watch every tree, every building and even the mountains become smaller and smaller. Once you reach 30 kilometers, you will float along the edge of space for two hours, taking in the breathtaking views of our home planet.
Sounds like the perfect place for a selfie.
Yes, you're right. You will also be able to communicate back to Earth to your family and friends via social media. When it’s time to descend, you will do so just as gently as you rose into the atmosphere.
How long are you floating up there?
It's five hours from launch to landing. Voyagers will float along the edge of space for more than two hours.
The thought of space tourism is equally thrilling and terrifying. How many tests will be necessary before this mission literally gets off the ground?
Component and subscale testing is well underway. Ultimately the progress and success of the production and flight testing phases will drive the schedule. We only anticipate that commercial flights will begin in late 2016.
What's the damage: How much money do I need to splurge on a ticket to heaven?
The entire cost of the flight is $75,000, a third of what it costs for other space travel competitors. Flights can be reserved now with a $5,000 deposit. We have room for up to six passengers at a time. There will also a pilot and additional crew member, for a total of eight individuals in the capsule.