With $75,000, You Will Have The Chance To View The Earth From Space
No special training, no special health requirements! All you need is $75,000 in your bank account. A Tuscon, Arizona-based company named World View Experience has plans to fly you 25 miles above the Earth’s surface using a polyethylene balloon as thin as a dry-cleaning bag. Don’t worry, they already flew this balloon before!
This past October, Alan Eustace, a 57-year-old computer scientist of Google, lifted off into space from the New Mexico desert using the aforementioned balloon. As the balloon rose steadily into the air, the small bubble of helium inside began to expand, and with each mile the balloon changed shape. At first it undulated skyward, limp and oblong, like a jellyfish. Then it grew into a soft, bulbous teardrop. Finally, as Eustace neared his destination, 25 miles above the planet’s surface, it became perfectly firm and rounded, a shimmering object the size of a football stadium. Above him spanned the blackness of space. Beneath him lay what has long drawn humans to these heights: the soul-altering view of the curvature of the Earth.
“Balloons are a beautiful mechanism for taking off,” Eustace says. “You’re perfectly balanced; it’s perfectly quiet; there’s no vibration as you’re going up.” Let’s watch this video to get the idea of what Eustace said:
The ride of your life
Here’s a peek at what it’ll be like to float at an altitude of 100,000 feet, above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere.
After arriving at the launch site, six passengers and two crew members would climb aboard the fully-pressurized Winnebago-sized capsule, which contains a bathroom and a refreshment bar.
Once the helium completely fills the balloon, the package stops ascending as it reaches its target altitude at about 100,000 feet. To put this into perspective, commercial jets fly between 30,000 and 40,000 feet, and U2 spy planes zoom through the skies at around 75,000 feet.
Once the capsule lands, about 4 to 5 hours later, a private jet will return the passengers to the initial launch site. Depending on the time of year, the distance between the launch and landing site could be anywhere from 0 to 300 miles.
And if that’s not enough, the team also includes NASA scientists, including astronaut Mark Kelly, serving as director of flight crew operations, and former head of science at NASA and principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, Alan Stern.