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
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0606 GMT (1406 HKT)
Sex, museums, cheese -- here's what France does better than the rest of us.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1128 GMT (1928 HKT)
Communication mix ups between pilots and traffic controllers occur daily. Here's why you're still safe.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
With a rake, some rope and a beach, Andres Amador creates mesmerizing artworks that last only until the next high tide.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
Your phone's confiscated. Your fingerprints are taken. You're going to prison. But don't worry, it's just for lunch.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
Panda, orangutan, sea turtles -- you can still see these threatened creatures in the wild, but probably not for long.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
If it's worth waiting an hour for a burger, it must be alright, yeah?
March 3, 2014 -- Updated 0829 GMT (1629 HKT)
The stench of grilled meats, the heady high of free wine, the sounds of strumming serenaders -- every February Cyprus puts on one of the world's best parties.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT)
For a film about travel, "Gringo Trails" almost makes you never want to leave home again.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 0609 GMT (1409 HKT)
Maldives tops a select list. But where would you spend your ideal honeymoon?
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 0050 GMT (0850 HKT)
Asian airlines want to go places -- but they might not have enough pilots to get them there.
February 23, 2014 -- Updated 1704 GMT (0104 HKT)
Want thousands of Instagram followers? CNN's Jethro Mullen, who has hundreds of thousands, reveals his secrets.
February 20, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Underwater, over mountains, by the beach -- whatever your trip, there's a camera that'll capture it best.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT)
If your university memories comprise dull, dusty halls and cold, concrete classrooms, you probably didn't study at these places.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Once, five-figure hotel suites were a rarity. Now -- as the wold becomes populated with more millionaires -- they are an increasingly common feature at luxury hotels.
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 0628 GMT (1428 HKT)
New Zealand's Travel Photographer of the Year in 2013 shares his picks for best photo spots.
Today's five most popular stories