Let’s face it: Space tourism is simply too expensive for the vast majority of humans. Especially with Bezos, Branson ans Musk endeavouring to charge nearer $500,000 per seat. Despite this, the effort to make space more accessible is gaining traction.
Last week, the first film crew (Russians; thereby beating Tom Cruise in the movie space race) to ever film in space was launched to the International Space Station. But the next step in broadening accessibility could involve rides to the stratosphere on a gigantic balloon.
Would you like to go where only the richest have been? With a modest $50,000 ticket, you might be tempted, says Interesting Engineering. Arizona-based firm World View Enterprises wants to cut the cost of space tourism by sending people up to the stratosphere in a capsule lifted by a massive balloon.
What’s the offer? Unlike space tourism trips on a rocket, passengers will gently and gradually rise into the stratosphere. Does that sound more relaxing?
But World View's balloon won't technically reach space - some define the start of space as the Kármán line at 330,000 feet (100 km), but others don't. Regardless, the balloon will reach altitudes capable of enabling passengers to see the Earth's curvature, just below the dark expanse of space - which they believe will be more than enough for many people. Trips will last from six to 12 hours, compared to less than half an hour in space in the case of both Bezos's Blue Origin and Branson's Virgin Galactic.
World View says its first commercial flights are slated for early 2024, assuming it obtains FAA certification. The company added that it will provide flexible financing options for those who wish to see space at least once in their lifetime. And, one day, a trip to space might soon cost the same as a car, instead of a super-car.
If you like the idea of slow aerial travel, but don't fancy going into the stratosphere, you may be interested in OceanSky Cruises, a Swedish aviation company that has announced that it'll be starting cruises to the North Pole onboard luxury airships starting from 2024. OceanSky's airship is similar to a luxury yacht, comprising 8 double cabins at 100 sq ft (10 m2) that are fully equipped with large panoramic windows, bedroom / seating, a private bathroom, and a wardrobe. More...
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