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New Balloon Spacecraft Flies You To A Stratospheric View Of Earth’s Curvature

by Charlie Zhang

Sky's not the limit as space tourism company World View unveiled its balloon spacecraft design, made to take people up to space for a stratospheric view of Earth's curvature. The hexagon-shaped spacecraft is designed for zero-pressure balloon rides where passengers in pressurized cabins can take in views of the Earth's curved horizon from over 30,000 meters up. The reusable, unmanned vehicle will be lifted by a helium balloon for six to 12 hours of sightseeing in a weightless environment.

World View's first commercial space tourism flights are scheduled for as early as 2024. 

The Rise of Space Tourism 🚀

It’s been a long and twisting road to space, but this maiden voyage of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity is evidence that we’re at last getting closer. Commercial space flight is now a reality. 

On July 11, 2021 Richard Branson, a handful of passengers and a flight crew took off to the edge of space at an altitude of 54 miles above the Earth. Passengers witnessed in awe a panoramic view of Earth as they went into zero gravity for about four minutes. Close to a week later, Jeff Bezos announced his own space tourism company Blue Origin, launching two voyages into space for test passengers. And Elon Musk’s SpaceX began launching its Dragon spacecraft in an effort to ferry astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station to Earth.

The Target Demographic 🌍

Space travel isn’t just for astronauts anymore, you can now travel to space… If you can buy it. One seat on Virgin Galactic’s space flight costs $450,000 USD. Blue Origin hasn’t disclosed its ticket price, but the company has stated it has raised over $100 million USD so far. For World View, the ticket price will be set at $50,000 USD which is much lower in comparison. This is probably the first example of competitive pricing in space tourism companies, and we might be able to see lower prices as more and more companies enter the market.

Currently, World View is marketing its trips to businesses for corporate bonding exercises, product launches and executive retreats.

World View’s Balloon Spacecraft 🎈

World View’s balloon spacecraft will be taking off from some of the world's most significant landmarks including the Great Barrier Reef, the Giza Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

With windows six times bigger than you see aboard an airplane, the balloon will seat eight passengers and two crew members inside hexagon-shaped pods. The capsule sits in a climate-controlled, pressurized environment which allows passengers to keep their clothes and personal items on during the flight. As a final touch, the balloon has two-meter-high elliptical windows with a view of Earth, with a sky window to see the balloon and constellations of stars.

Quote 👽

"Unveiling our space capsule prototype is a pivotal moment for the company as we continue to prepare for our first launch from the Grand Canyon in just two short years."

— Ryan Hartman, President and CEO of World View

Takeaways 🚀

🌍 Commercial space flight is now a reality and a handful of new companies are starting to enter the market.

💸 Currently, ticket prices for space tourism starts at $50,000 USD and can go up to $500,000 USD.

🎈 World View’s Balloon Spacecraft is designed for a luxurious viewing experience.

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