A company based in Tucson announced today that it's going to be selling trips to space -- well, "nearspace."
World View Enterprises, whose CEO and chief technology officer are both former residents of the Biosphere 2 near Tucson, announced that it will offer rides in a capsule that is lifted by a balloon to around 100,000 feet above Earth.
A price for a ticket on the eight-person capsule is going to be $75,000, the company says, although it's still a couple years away from actually having these flights.
From the company's announcement:
The World View spaceflight experience will begin with a gentle ride in the comfort of a luxuriously appointed space-qualified capsule, lifted by a high altitude balloon to 30 km. There, passengers will remain aloft for approximately two hours before gliding back to Earth.
Passengers will be among the few to have seen the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes. They will be able to gaze at the astounding views, the blackness of space, the brilliance of stars and the thin veil of atmosphere enveloping our planet - scenes previously witnessed exclusively by astronauts - for $75,000.
The company released a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration that classifies the trips as commercial space flights, but whether the flights qualify as trips to "outer space" is a "difficult question" that the FAA doesn't answer, as there's apparently some disagreement over where space starts.
On its website, World View has a pretty cool video rendering of what the trip would look like.
Although there are a couple other companies that also offer people trips to space, the FAA letter describes how this one's different, since this capsule is designed to be kept at the high altitude for several hours.
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Check out the FAA letter on the next page: