New Company place View wants to take you to the stratosphere via high altitude balloon
The original founders of World View Enterprises, a company of the aim of using large balloons to send payloads into the stratosphere — are starting a new venture together, one that will use the same scale on the balloons to send People Comfortably above the ground. Name of place point of viewThe now separate company is focusing on floating paying customers to the edge of the “place” where you can have an exceptional view of the curvature of the Earth.
Such a comfortable space travel experience has long been the goal of Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum, co-CEO of the place, the point of view of who are announcing the launch of the company today. They actually started in the world of the view with tourist flights as the basic end games, but they’re now making a separate enterprise to focus on the goal of full time. The idea is to give people a magnificent view of the Earth from above, without having to strap into a rocket and shot into the sky at thousands of miles an hour, as other companies plan to do. “We have the right to return to the idea of using his high-altitude balloon system to be able to people take really gently the edge of space,” Poynter tells Along the way.
Technically, the space perspective is not planning to send people to Original Space. The company wants to fly customers up to 100,000 feet or close to 19 miles high. This is a very low altitude compared to many consider to be the edge of space at 50 miles up, so you don’t get the full space experience. Space approach, staff will not experience weightlessness, for example (although they will feel three pounds lighter). Still, the team argues people will be located above 99 percent of Earth’s atmosphere, and that’s their balloon the pot will be regulated like a space ship through the FAA’s Office of commercial space flight.
Plus, original point of view. “We say that we are going to the edge of the place, but the experience is really what astronaut [and Space Perspective advisor] Jeff Hoffman calls the authentic experience,” MacCallum tells Along the way. “For this because, looking at the Earth from space — with time and calm and relaxed in what is going on and what is really going on Consider able to what they see — that’s what he calls authentic experience, and so that is what we are really focusing on.”
Space tourism that sends people to the edge of space and back have been slow to get in full swing, with companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic is still a ways from entering commercial operation. These vehicles rely on rocket engines to get the people of the land, and they are very high — between 50 and 62 miles. Poynter contends that their system is very different from these Rockets — especially the lack of a rocket engine — if they don’t expect is to run into a few problems.
To get to the stratosphere, users riding inside a spherical white capsule called Neptune that looks a bit like a spinning top, with wide glass windows providing a clear view of the land below. This “propellant” will be a massive translucent balloon filled with hydrogen, which will ascend in the breakneck speed of 12 miles per hour. Eight passengers can fit inside the craft, with a pilot to make sure everything runs smoothly, according to the company. The entire flight is meant to last about six hours, with two hours spent above the ground, hovering. And there will be quite a Wi-Fi connection of some kind.
Any type of satellite communication will be important to talk with ground control, but also pigs allowed to post photos from the sky. And then if people want to do any kind of special event on board — such as a wedding or art show, there will be other options. “For special events where we really want to Jun some of the Neptune, we will have a swankier communication system that will be able to do really high-resolution, broadband live streaming,” says Poynter.
It’s a bold idea, but the two CEOs have a history of working on weird projects together. Poynter and MacCallum both attended the much hyped — and controversial — Biosphere 2 experience back in the early ’90s, where a small group of people tried to stay in a closed-loop ecological system to simulate what it would be like to live on Mars. He also has experience working on a high altitude balloon flight is for a person sphere. A while working with them in other space company called Paragon, he created a life support system for Alan Eustace, the former senior vice president of Engineering at Google, who broke the record for the highest altitude jump from a balloon from over 135,000 feet.
Inspired by the idea of travelling by balloon, he started the vision of the world together in 2012. But the company has started to focus less on tourism and more on science. The world view has been developing a new product called Stratollite — a vehicle that works derived from a satellite without original orbit in the ground. It consists of a metal package filled with sensors, devices, and more — this trip to the stratosphere under a balloon. There Stratollite is meant to hover over a place on Earth for an extended period of time, collect data to the level below. The company currently plans to deploy fleets of Stratollites over North and Central America Starting this summer.
With the view of the world focused on Stratollites, Poynter finally stepped down as CEO in order to keep the dream of balloon-travel tourism is alive. Poynter says he did is market research on their idea and that there’s plenty of interest from potential customers. To keep the momentum space approach, has set up shop in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the lease of a building at NASA Kennedy Space Center. They plan to start their first uncrewed test flight from Space Florida’s launch and landing facility — a runway where NASA’s space shuttle used to land — sometime early next year. That flight will take some scientific payloads, which the company will announce in the coming months
There’s still work to be done before regular flights are ready to, though, especially when it comes to landing. While carrying passengers in place of the perspective plan for the Neptune capsule to splash down in the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico after flights from the Cape. The company, relying on the direction of the winds for where the car ends, as there will not be options to control the direction of the vehicle in flight. This means that they will need a recovery boat to come to take the capsule from the sea. Space approach say that it has been talking to the people who recovery of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule from the sea to figure out that the best way to do that. The splashdown method also means that the company can start from other areas, like Hawaii or Alaska.
The company also need to make sure that the ride will be safe for passengers, which Poynter and MacCallum insisted it would be. Neptune capsules will have a life support system and pressure control, and although the car will mostly be flown by people on the ground designated pilot on board can help the customers if any problem arises. And if a balloon suffers any type of leak or failure, a reserve parachute will be on hand to bring the capsule down safely, according to MacCallum.
There may be other kinks to work out on the way though. The world view of Stratollite development, for example, has taken longer than expected as the company spent years trying to extend the amount of time the vehicle can last while in the air. Poynter and MacCallum say that their problems should not impact the development of these new systems, they are less focused on navigating their capsules similar world view handle this Stratollite. “Height control and to work out that Stratollite was a huge undertaking and very different from the Human Fly,” says MacCallum. “It’s really very, very different worlds, and while they both balloons go into the atmosphere, it’s really where the similarities end.”
With all these things in mind space approach is still very big plans for the future. Poynter and MacCallum say that their Neptune capsule will be reusable, and they hope to get more than 1,000 flights out of each car. In the end they plan to to fly 100 flights a year, and ticket prices, while still high, will be lower than in other space-tourism projects, they claim. Poynter expects every ticket to be less than half of what Virgin Galactic charges, which is $250,000 a seat. They expect with the ticket prices finalized to go on sale next year.
But really, the space perspective says it wants every person to be able to enjoy this method of travel. The company has also partnered with space for Humanity, a non-profit that hopes to provide all expenses paid trips to space. Space approach also wants to fly artists, political leaders, spiritual leaders, and more, to help them see the world differently. “Astronauts who talk about watching a human family and no borders and a small planet… really resonated with us,” MacCallum says. “We always thought that this is a very important set of thoughts to have that visceral experience to help move the needle.”
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