Although it would only take passengers up to thirty kilometres, it would also be much cheaper than a real space trip. If the title sounds familiar, it’s not a coincidence, as World View Enterprises is the third company in recent years to solve the problem of high-altitude travel by balloon. Previously, Zero 2 Infinity and Space Perspective have announced similar plans, but World View Enterprises claims to be able to undercut those companies by a long way: a trip will cost $50,000, half the price of a rival’s ticket, and a fraction of the price of a trip offered by Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic.
Although passengers will not reach the edge of space (which is defined as 80-100 kilometres), they will still be able to admire the Earth from a perspective that very few have seen, as the balloon rises to an altitude of 30 kilometres. World View Enterprises plans to make a trip last between 6 and 12 hours, giving passengers plenty of time to enjoy the sights of our planet, which, depending on where they take off, will include the Grand Canyon, the Aurora Borealis, the Serengeti, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforest, the pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China.
The pressurised Explore Space Capsule will carry a crew of two and up to eight passengers at a time, who will be able to view the Earth in true luxury compared to space travel, with a bar, washbasin, reclining seats with touchscreen, internet access and telescopes, among other features.
The company plans to make its first flight in 2024, but for a deposit of $500, anyone can secure a seat on the first flights now.