Space travel: U.S. company to offer 30 km-high balloon flights
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 0653 GMT (1453 HKT)
Arizona-based World View Enterprises plans to take travelers to the edge of space with a balloon and thinks it will look something like this.
"Affordable" space travel
Room with a view
Ready to land
The air up there
- Arizona-based company plans trip to the edge of space in a "luxury capsule"
- Lifted by a high altitude balloon, the capsule will travel to a height of about 30 kilometers
- The first flight is expected to take off in three years
(CNN) -- Want space travel but don't have pockets deep enough for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic or the courage levels to match Felix Baumgartner, the daredevil space-jumper? A balloon trip to (almost) space and back might just be the answer.
Arizona-based space travel company World View Enterprises says it plans to offer a trip to the edge of space in a luxurious eight-seat capsule for $75,000 per ticket.
It's somewhat more affordable considering Virgin Galactic charges $250,000, which also includes three days of training and two and a half hours in space.
The capsule will be lifted by a high altitude balloon that will rise up to about 30 kilometers (98,425 feet or almost 20 miles) and stay aloft for two hours before returning back to Earth, according to a company press statement.
Quiz: Do you have the smarts to be a space tourist?
That is not as high as Baumgartner's jumping point (128,100 feet or around 39 kilometers) last year but much higher than one can usually reach -- the average altitude for commercial flights is about nine or ten kilometers above ground, or 30,000 to 40,000 feet.
"Passengers will be among the few to have seen the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes," the statement touted.
"They will be able to gaze at the astounding views, the blackness of space, the brilliance of stars and the thin veil of atmosphere enveloping our planet."
The first flight is planned for 2016.
Component testing has already begun and sub-scale testing will soon be carried out as well, the company says.
The space capsule will be developed by Paragon Space Development Corporation, which is developing technology for Inspiration Mars, a 501-day mission around Mars.
Zero gravity flights: cheaper than space travel
Part of complete coverage on
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 0651 GMT (1451 HKT)
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 0803 GMT (1603 HKT)
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 2202 GMT (0602 HKT)
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
Today's five most popular stories