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New Space Tourism Option: High-Altitude Baloons

Friday, October 25, 2013 @ 8:00 AM

By Mary Grady, AVweb

A new company this week announced its plans to offer high-altitude rides to about 98,425 feet in a pressurized capsule suspended beneath a helium balloon, for $75,000 per seat. The company, World View Experience, is based in Tucson, Ariz., and plans to launch the flights from Spaceport America, in New Mexico, no sooner than 2016. The capsule would carry up to six passengers and two pilots high enough to view the curvature of the Earth and the black sky of space. The ascent will take about two hours, and the travelers can then spend about two hours at altitude. To return to Earth, the capsule separates from the balloon and lands a half-hour later beneath a steerable parafoil.

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