A new initiative by Paragon Space Development wants to balloon you and seven wealthy friends 100,000 feet above Earth—all you need is $75,000. The project, fittingly called World View, plans to float paying customers to the edges of space, and then keep them there for two hours while they simply admire the view. Up there, far above real human problems, you can see the curvature of the Earth, said Paragon co-founder Jan Poynter. At that altitude, the sky is “completely black,” not unlike seeing the sky at night from the ground.
The journey itself is estimated to last around four hours, from ascension to landing, and use a giant helium balloon to float space tourists up closer to the sun; the method is similar to Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking Stratos free fall last year. After the passenger’s allotted viewing time is up, the capsule would be disconnected from the balloon, and use a parafoil to safely return to Earth.
According to Paragon, the space flight will supposedly result in a “truly transformative human experience,” while undercutting the competition like Virgin Galactic, which charges $250,000 for a seat on its SpaceshipTwo craft. While the boundary of space technically doesn’t begin until about 62 miles above Earth, called the Karman Line, Paragon defines its World View project as a “spacecraft,” as does the FAA. Virgin’s initiative, it must be noted, will go beyond the Karman Line, so that extra dough gets you plenty more mileage.
While Paragon’s World View project is aimed squarely at capitalizing on the growing space tourism industry, Poynter did say it will also use its technology for scientific purposes. If you can’t quite muster the $250,000 for Virgin’s project, perhaps you can take advantage of Paragon’s “comparably affordable price.” All that to float 100,000 feet in the air for a few hours.
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