Article Image

IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

This giant balloon will take you to the edge of space--for just $50,000


Traveling is wonderful, but an eight-hour flight often equates to numb legs, an aching back, and terrible snacks. Penny-pinching airlines have ruined the experience of air travel. But what if you were taking an eight-hour flight into space?

That's the promise of World View, a startup that plans to use a helium balloon to lift you 100,000 feet above the earth in flights that launch from the Grand Canyon starting in 2024. For $50,000, you can enjoy the slow ascent into the atmosphere, while taking in extraordinary views through a 5-foot-wide window that puts the view of any dinky window seat to shame. The capsule and its interior are being designed by PriestmanGoode, a UK design firm known for its work on airline interiors for Airbus, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines.

World View is the latest entrant into the burgeoning space tourism industry, which includes Virgin Galactic's zero gravity plane flights ($450,000 a seat) Blue Origin rocket trips (tickets still unpriced), and fellow space balloon competitor Space Perspective, which is charging $125,000 to lift a a 360-degree viewing room into space. It's a young market, but you can already see a line of differentiation: Some companies are selling a relaxed journey to reach the tip of nature, whereas others promise high-g adventure out of The Right Stuff.

Technically, World View never reaches the true altitude of space, but it goes high enough to see the curved edges of the earth from above, and to see our world from another perspective. That formed the central design challenge: "What we don't want to do as designers is go in and spoil that experience for the passenger," says Daniel Macinnes, design director at PriestmanGoode.