Some veteran space entrepreneurs have come up with a plan to send tourists up to an altitude of 19 miles, where they will have a view of space, at the cost of $75,000 a ticket, according to NBC News.
World View enterprises, based in Arizona, said it would offer the 30-kilometer-high balloon rides, though they won't begin until at least 2016. The company plans to start selling tickets sometime in the next few months.
"Seeing the Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize our connection to our home planet and to the universe around us, and will surely offer a transformative experience to our customers," Jane Poynter, the chief executive officer of World View, said in a statement. "We look forward to pioneering this new, accessible and affordable spaceflight regime, and to sharing the breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experience with people from around the globe."
The plans for the new venture were unveiled on Tuesday after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that the venture would follow the rules for commercial spaceflight, not the rules for atmospheric balloon trips, which are more stringent.
The balloon ride won't take passengers anywhere near the 62-mile boundary of outer space that is internationally accepted. Riders wouldn't feel any zero-gravity sensation, either. However, the experience will give passengers the type of view of the black sky that are associated with high-altitude balloon flights.
The hefty price tag of $75,000 is substantially less than the $250,000 space ride from Virgin Galactic, and also less than the $95,000 rocket-plane trip planned by XCOR Aerospace. Tours with World View tours will also provide a longer view, with the ascent taking a couple of hours, two hours of floating at the top and a half-hour for the descent.
The initial plans for the balloon will hold six passengers and two pilots, though the company hopes to shift that to seven passengers and one pilot.
Information about the balloon flight into space.
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