Former NASA astronaut Ron Garan has joined the private spaceflight company World View as its chief pilot, which will use space balloon technology to float passengers safely to the edge of Earth.
Imagine yourself aboard this World View capsule featured below, with a 360 view of the world around you. You start to ascend into the atmosphere, floating into the blackness of space. Below you, you see the curvature of the Earth and the natural beauty of the world. This is what World View aims to provide its passengers. But there’s more to it.
The main aim of World View is to give a little taste of the “overview effect” to its passengers. The overview effect can be described as transitioning from seeing the world as divided by countries to seeing it as one planet with one people (as a result of seeing firsthand the reality of Earth in space).
Ron Garan told Mashable, “I left NASA about two-and-a-half years ago, and I left for really one reason. That was to share the perspective that we have of our planet from space and to do that full-time…I truly believe that perspective has profound implications for how we tackle the problems we face, how we deal with each other, politics, for every aspect of human life.”
Garan says that World View has its name for a reason: they believe that seeing Earth from this vantage point can have transformative effects and impact our global society.
So you want to fly with World View? Here are some of the details.
World View will tug passengers up to 100,000 feet before the balloon deflates, floating passengers back to Earth under a parachute.
It will take around two hours to get the balloon up to the initial altitude and will float at that altitude for two hours. The balloon will then start deflation back to Earth for two hours. The flight will total around five to six hours roundtrip.
A ticket to ride costs $75,000 each, so start saving now.
Safety: taken from World View website.
- The ParaWing remains open the entire flight to allow the capsule to glide safely down to Earth at any time during the flight.
- The backup parachute system is the same as those used on private airplanes.
- The vehicle can be fully operated by the ground crew if necessary.
- Dual-paned windows.
- The life support system is designed to handle unlikely leaks in the capsule.The proprietary launch cradle allows for complete balloon checkout prior to launching.
Garan is hesitant to give an exact date of when World View will start flying passengers. However, the company has already started sending science payloads, which is promising for the rest of us.
Photos by World View Enterprises