How many kids dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up? It’s a bit difficult to actually make that happen, but soon we may be able to get a glimpse into the life of an astronaut.
While Elon Musk is busy with SpaceX, another company called World View is working on a different form of space travel: balloons. And the company had its first successful complete test this week, sending a balloon 120,000 feet in the air and back to landing.
The balloon technology World View used typically only goes up to 30,000 feet in the air, so this was a huge feat for the company. Now that they have accomplished the first test, World View will be sifting through all of their data and working towards the next big test, sending up a complete balloon with a metal weight at the bottom to make sure the capsule could hold eight passengers during the flight.
World View’s CEO Jane Poynter hopes to have this next major test take place some time next year, while the company hopes to send up actual passengers by 2016.
The goal is to let ordinary people view the earth from a completely different perspective.
“I think it is completely inspirational and potentially very transformational,” Poynter told Business Insider. “I’ve heard astronauts talk abut the extraordinary experience of seeing the Earth in space. For many of them, it is truly transformational. It changes the way they see themselves. It’s that change in perspective that we want to give people when we take them up.”
And it seems that there is consumer interest for the service, too, with people already having booked seats on the planned 2016 launches. The $US75,000 flight is meant to last two hours and float the passengers up to 100,000 feet above ground.
The goal is for the service to be completely open to the public.
“If you can get on a commercial aeroplane you can get on World View,” Poynter said.
World View has done other component tests before, but this was the first complete test.
World View still hasn’t tested the balloon with a capsule like this, but it is the ultimate goal.
This could be you in 2016.
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