World View on verge of accepting reservations for trips to near space


(Courtesy of World View)

World View will begin accepting reservations Wednesday to take customers to the edge of space in a capsule lifted by a helium balloon.

Six passengers and two crew members would ascend for 90 minutes to about 100,000 feet. After enjoying the view for two hours, the capsule would return to Earth in an hour.

The magnificent views come at a hefty price, $75,000 a person. Those who sign up will have to wait till late 2016 to go to the edge of space.

“One of unique aspects of this is the opportunity to see the Earth as it really is. As a planet, as a big ball floating there in the blackness of space,” said Mark Kelly, World View’s director of flight crew operations. “It is really a unique, exciting thing. It changes people’s perspective on the environment and civilization.”

Kelly is a retired Navy combat pilot and NASA shuttle commander who has spent 55 days in space. He is the husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The Tucson-based company was co-founded by Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter, who are well known within the entrepreneurial space community. Their space tourism experience stands out in the growing field as rockets are not involved.

“With World View what we are trying to do is make it very comfortable,” Poynter said. “Something that if you imagine yourself getting up first thing in the morning and you’re sitting in this very comfortable luxurious capsule and outside this beautiful big window you’re literally seeing the enormity of the Earth displayed in front of you.”

Related: World View announces plans to offer luxury ride to edge of space

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Matt McFarland · December 9, 2013