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)

Explore further: NASA, Orbital Sciences poised for Wednesday mission to ISS

Related Stories

Japan sets new date for satellite rocket launch

September 9, 2013

Japan's state-run space agency Monday said the launch of its next-generation solid-fuel rocket had been rescheduled for September 14 after the first attempt was suspended seconds before lift-off.

Iran renews plan to send monkey into space

January 15, 2013

Iran will try again to send a live monkey into space after a previous attempt failed in 2011, media reports said Tuesday quoting the space chief, who gave a launch date of before mid-February.

Countdown begins for Indo-French satellite launch

February 23, 2013

A countdown began Saturday for next week's launch of an Indian rocket that will carry seven satellites into orbit, including an Indo-French venture for studying the world's oceans, India's space agency said.

Iran 'failed' with space monkey launch

October 12, 2011

Iran acknowledged as a failure on Wednesday its attempt to send a live monkey into space last month -- touted as its first step towards launching a man into space.

Recommended for you

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

December 9, 2016

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of ...

Scientists sweep stodgy stature from Saturn's C ring

December 9, 2016

As a cosmic dust magnet, Saturn's C ring gives away its youth. Once thought formed in an older, primordial era, the ring may be but a mere babe – less than 100 million years old, according to Cornell-led astronomers in ...

Khatyrka meteorite found to have third quasicrystal

December 9, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.S. and Italy has found evidence of a naturally formed quasicrystal in a sample obtained from the Khatyrka meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.