A new idea for space tourism: Balloon over rocket

October 22, 2013 by Seth Borenstein
This artist's rendering provided by World View Enterprises on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 shows their design for a capsule lifted by a high-altitude balloon up 19 miles into the air for tourists. Company CEO Jane Poynter said people would pay $75,000 to spend a couple hours looking down at the curve of the Earth. (AP Photo/World View Enterprises)

The latest space tourism venture depends more on hot air than rocket science.

World View Enterprises announced plans Tuesday to send people up 19 miles in a capsule, lifted by a high-altitude balloon. Company CEO Jane Poynter said the price for spending a couple of hours looking down at the curve of the Earth will be $75,000.

But it's not quite space. Space starts at 62 miles.

Still, the plan requires approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial space. She said it uses existing technology and the first launch could be as early as the end of 2016.

The same team last February proposed a private venture to send a to Mars in 2018.

This artist's rendering provided by World View Enterprises on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 shows their design for a capsule lifted by a high-altitude balloon up 19 miles into the air for tourists. Company CEO Jane Poynter said people would pay $75,000 to spend a couple hours looking down at the curve of the Earth. (AP Photo/World View Enterprises)

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Squirrel
1.4 / 5 (10) Oct 23, 2013
Waste of helium--hot air will not get you 19 miles up. The FAA should ban it simply because helium is to scarce and vital to throw away in the large quantities this will use on trivial vanity sight seeing.
Humpty
1 / 5 (9) Oct 23, 2013
They use hydrogen dummy - it's safer.
The Singularity
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2013
I had this idea years ago.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2013
because helium is to scarce and vital


Helium is vented off as a waste product in natural gas processing. Most natural gas contains about 7% helium by volume. The reason helium isn't saved for use during most natural gas processing is because it isn't worth it. The US government keeps the price of helium artificially low through the sale of its reserves. The supply of helium is nowhere near running out. It's just the US stockpile that will be used up, which will allow the price to go up, and refineries will then be able to sell it in stead of venting it.

Jane Poynter said the price for spending a couple of hours looking down at the curve of the Earth


That's a nice long ride. The rocket rides like Virgin Galactic only last a few minutes.

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