By Stacey Leasca
Oct 25, 2021
WORLD VIEW, A STRATOSPHERIC BALLOONING company, announced a mind-blowing expansion of services: they’ll fly you to the edge of space in a high-tech hot-air balloon.
The edge-of-space flights will lift eight participants and two World View crew members in a zero-pressure stratospheric hot-air balloon and pressurized space capsule to about 37 kilometers into the stratosphere. In total, the experience will last for anywhere between six and 12 hours.
The journey begins at World View’s spaceports located across the globe. Guests will arrive ahead of their flight for a five-day experience that includes excursions so they can immerse themselves in the surrounding area. The spaceport locations include the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia; the Great Wall of China in Mongolia; the Grand Canyon in the United States; the Serengeti in Kenya; an Aurora Borealis spot in Norway; Amazonia in Brazil; and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt.
Now, here’s the best part. The flights are priced at US$50,000 per person. Though still quite a bit more expensive than a regular plane ride, it’s a marked discount from other space tourism operations, some of which can run for nearly US$500,000 per seat.
“There are some really great space tourism companies that are building some amazing experiences to take their customers into space. We celebrate their accomplishments in pushing the space tourism industry forward,” Ryan Hartman, World View president and CEO, told Travel + Leisure. “We’ve opted to build a different type of space tourism experience, one that will allow more humans to view the curvature of Earth, the darkness of space, and the fragility of our planet. In order to increase humanity’s access to space tourism, we felt it was important to price our experience to be more affordable to more people.”
But, affordability isn’t the only goal. It’s also about accessibility for all.
“We wanted to make sure that it was accessible for people of all physical abilities. We’ve designed the experience to feature a very gentle ascent and descent that might be comparable (or even gentler) than a takeoff and landing of a commercial airplane,” Hartman added. “In addition to increasing affordability and accessibility, we also want to maximize the value of the experience. This comes in two forms: time and place. From a time perspective, we want to make sure you have as much time as possible at apogee to truly appreciate this awe-inspiring vantage point. You’ll spend over six hours hovering 100,000 feet above Earth, giving you ample time to rediscover the beauty and fragility of our planet.”
Those interested in joining the flight can put in a deposit starting today with just US$500. World View’s first commercial flights are expected to begin in early 2024 with the non-profit Space for Humanity, which already secured the inaugural commercial flight.
“We are very excited about securing World View’s first commercial capsule,” Rachel Lyons, executive director of Space for Humanity, said in the statement. “Our mission is to expand access to space to all and in doing so, support the transformation of our world’s most ambitious leaders so they can use their experience in space to create positive change here on Earth. This is a groundbreaking time for space tourism and we’re looking forward to giving more people the opportunity to experience it for themselves.”
Learn more about the experience of flying to space in a hot-air balloon and book your spot here.