Startup World View is selling 1,000 tickets for hot air balloon rides near the edge of space

A space balloon startup, which plans to send paying customers to the far reaches of space as early as 2024, has signed up its 1,000th customer, making it the most sought-after space tourism operator in the world.

The Tucson, Arizona-based World View sells rides on its space balloons for $50,000 per seat, about one-ninth the price of a spaceflight ticket with Galactic Virgo.

Relying on helium-filled balloons, World View will not provide full space tourism experience with weightlessnessbut its customers will see the planet Earth from 23 miles (37 kilometers) above, almost three times higher than an airliner’s cruising altitude. At this altitude, the curvature of the Earth as well as the starry blackness of the sky can be observed, the company said. in a report Wednesday (May 4). The experience is slower, six to eight hours, compared to the adrenaline-filled rocket-powered flights offered by Virgin Galactic or blue origin.

Related: Space tourism boom could affect Earth’s climate in unforeseen ways, scientists worry

To increase appeal, World View plans to launch its flights from some of the world’s most spectacular locations, including the Grand Canyon, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Flights from the Grand Canyon Spaceport are already full for the first year of operation, the company said in the statement.

“Reaching 1,000 bookings underscores the passion, excitement and interest in this unique experience that World View provides,” World View CEO and President Ryan Hartman said in the release. “The fact that the Grand Canyon Spaceport flight is sold out for the first year also demonstrates market demand and growing interest in space tourism.”

Reaching the 1,000 customer mark means World View now has the longest customer waiting list of any space tourism company, the company added in the statement. According to data from November 2021, Virgin Galactic has over 700 people on its waiting list. Blue Origin has not released its passenger booking information.

World View is, however, considerably more accessible not only for flying in near space, but also for joining the company’s waiting list. World View only requires a $500 deposit, compared to the $150,000 deposit requested by Virgin Galactic(A suborbital trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes costs around $450,000 per ticket.)

World View isn’t the only company hoping to launch a space tourism business near space balloons. The Florida-Based Space Perspective aims to perform stratospheric balloon flights with its Spaceship Neptune passenger capsule in 2024.Zero2Infinity of Barcelona, ​​Spain, has been working on its technology for more than a decade. The company, however, is struggling to secure sufficient funding.

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