One of the only ways for you to get anywhere near space if you don’t work for NASA is to buy a $250,000 ticket on Virgin Galactic. If you like the idea of traveling to the edge of space, but you want to do it for less than $250,000, a company called World View, which is a division of a private company called Paragon Space Development Corp. has a new plan to get passengers to the edge of space.
World View plans to send passengers to an altitude of about 100,000 feet. That’s nowhere near the altitude that Virgin Galactic plans to carry passengers, which is approximately 68-miles above the surface of the Earth. What that means for World View passengers is that they won’t get the sensation of microgravity.
What World View passengers will get is a nice view. Officials from World View note that passengers aboard its capsules will be able to have the beverage of their choice while the enjoy the view. Passengers can also stay aloft for days for research if need be with the typical flight lasting hours.
World View expects to begin selling tickets within the next few months. The company pulled the wraps off the project ahead of the public determination by the FAA. The FAA has determined that the Paragon six-passenger, two-pilot vehicle does qualify as a spacecraft. The World View capsule will be carried aloft by a giant helium balloon and images show a parachute being used to return it to Earth
The FAA said:
At Paragon’s intended altitude, water and blood boil, and an unprotected person would rapidly experience fatal decompression.
Regardless of whether 30 kilometers constitutes outer space — and the FAA renders no opinion on that questions — a person would experience the same physiological responses at 30 kilometers as if exposed to the environment of low-Earth orbit. Thus, Paragon’s capsule will need to be space-qualified.