Tucson company plans to take tourists on leisurely space trips in 2024

October 5, 2022

World View, a Tucson-based company, plans to offer leisurely space trips to the edge of Earth's stratosphere from 2024. Up to eight passengers will float at 100,000 feet, spending two to four hours taking in the view from around massive windows, with a meal and drinks served. Tickets cost $50,000, significantly cheaper than private rocket rides.

The company intends to build seven spaceports near scenic destinations, starting with the Grand Canyon and later expanding to places like the Great Barrier Reef and the Giza Pyramids. The trips will be powered by a 590-foot-long balloon, filled with helium, which will lift the vessel to the edge of space. On the descent, pilots will deploy a giant parafoil to steer to a designated landing zone. The trip will take six to eight hours, with two hours to ascend and 1.5 hours to descend at a gentle elevator-like pace.

World View uses helium, which is nonflammable and nonexplosive, rather than hydrogen, which other space tourism companies use. The balloon will contain the same amount of pressure as the stratosphere, so if there is a tear or leak, it will not explode but rather slowly start descending.

Before launching, passengers will spend five days exploring the area around the spaceport.

World View started in Tucson in 2012 to create a balloon lift system that would allow a Google engineer to break the world record for the highest skydive. Since then, the company has shifted toward providing unmanned stratospheric flights that allow for photo and video monitoring.


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