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In an estimated four years, another space program will emerge to join the likes of Elon Musk’s Space X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne, World View: a luxury balloon that will take eager tourists 100,000 feet into space. The capsule will take travelers on five-hour expeditions through the earth’s atmosphere.
World View was engendered from the Paragon Space Development Corporation, an Arizona based company that pursues the development of life support structures infrastructures in extreme conditions. The company has now expressed their interest in creating an infrastructure for an extra-terrestrial extreme condition.
Paragon approached the British studio Priestmangoode, a transportation design firm, to help design the capsule. The firm has outfitted the likes of: Malaysia Airways, Thai Airways, Virgin’s new first class cabins, and they have created an original design for a high-speed light rail.
Nigel Goode, director of Priestmangoode, illustrated the ambition and complexities of the project by saying that people will be going 100,000 feet above the earth’s surface into space. Passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space. His goal is to create life-changing experiences.
Goode estimates that World View trips would need to begin before dusk. The balloon will take approximately an hour and a half to arrive at 100,000 feet, at which point the balloon will be able to drift in orbit for a few hours. Goode and his team designed the spacecraft around four circular windows, allowing passengers to get a front row seat to the view of earth and the beyond.
The balloon that will take tourists 100,000 feet into space is designed for the expedition and luxury. Goode stated that the interior design is still in the idea phase, but they are being developed with comfort being a high priority. Similar to aircraft carriers, the seats in the capsule need to be as lightweight as possible, a few pounds can lead to thousands of dollars in fuel costs. Carbon fiber and thin leather padding are the prime candidates for material for the seats and interior.
Goode stated with World View he wants to maximize visibility in the spacecraft and make every passenger feel as if they are part of a select few who are traveling through a most unfamiliar environment. The capsule will contain six swiveling seats, a bathroom, snack area, and bar. The seats will have swivel capabilities due to Goode’s desire to have all the passengers face the windows during takeoff and landing.
The luxury balloon that will take tourists 100,000 feet into space is not being developed only for tourism. Models are also being created for professional research purposes. World View rides will not have a price set until a balloon and capsule are near completion. Goode estimates that the price will most likely be somewhere below $100,000, which is half the cost of Virgin’s Galactic SpaceShipOne. On their website, World View is already allowing reservations for a ride in the spacecraft for $5,000 deposit. They also allow those who are interested to contact them with any questions.
By Andres Loubriel