World View, a corporation formed to transport passengers into stratosphere for the space-like views of Earth, is renewing those plans, pitting it against two of its co-founders. World View, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, said on October 4 that it is working on a passenger capsule that is going to be hoisted aloft by the balloons to a height of around 30 kilometres. The Explorer Space Capsule is going to carry 8 passengers and two crew members on 6- to 12-hour journeys, providing passengers with a view of Earth that the business claims are similar to that viewed from space.
Tickets are going to cost $50,000 for every person, with World View offering “flexible financing options,” according to the company. The business expects the first voyage to take place in early 2024. The non-profit organization Space purchased the maiden flight for Humanity, which provides spaceflight experiences to those who cannot afford them.
According to Ryan Hartman, CEO of World View, the new service is guided by four principles: location, time, price, and accessibility. While the flights are going to start in Page, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, the business plans to expand service throughout the world in the future, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza to Norway’s aurora borealis.
Flight times are far longer, and ticket rates are a lot lower than the suborbital spaceflights provided by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, he said. The term “accessibility” refers to an experience that does not involve the extreme G-forces associated with launches. He explained, “That’s our space tourist business.” According to Hartman, World View is finishing the capsule design and preparing to apply for a flying licence from Federal Aviation Administration under the Part 450 simplified launch procedures. He stated the firm is fully funded for “this level” of development, but he wouldn’t estimate how much funding World View would require for the system’s ultimate development.
This initiative is a return to the World View’s roots, which date back over a decade. Initially, the company stated that it would construct a stratospheric balloon system named Voyager to transport passengers, giving them a taste of spaceflight without really flying to space. However, the business turned its focus some years later to uncrewed balloons known as “stratollites,” which lift images and telecommunication payloads into stratosphere for several weeks at a time.
Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter, two of World View’s co-founders, announced in 2020 June a new firm called Space Perspective that will offer passenger balloon flights that the World View had planned. One year later, Space Perspective flew its first uncrewed flight test and announced that tickets for $125,000 per person were on sale. In the interview, Hartman declined to make a comparison between World View and Space Perspective. “I’m not sure what Space Perspective is doing,” he admitted. “We’re extremely focused on the implications of space tourism for us.”