FAA approves World View balloon ride plans

About a week ago, a company called World View unveiled plans to send passengers on a balloon ride that will take them to an altitude of around 100,000 feet for $75,000 per ticket. World View said at the time that it was announcing its plans ahead of a public determination to be made by the FAA. The capsule used by World View was expected to be classified as a spacecraft and to be forced to meet guidelines for space travel.

The FAA has now reportedly giving a preliminary classification approval to World View and the capsule will in fact qualify as a space launch vehicle under section 50902(8) of its guidelines covering commercial space launch vehicles. Those guidelines govern suborbital rockets and launch vehicles. The capsule is neither of those what the FAA figures since the environment outdoors at 100,000 feet poses similar conditions as you would experience in lower orbit the capsule needs to meet the same guidelines as spacecraft.

The trip from the ground to 100,000-foot altitude will reportedly take between 1.5 and two hours. The capsule won't travel to an altitude high enough to provide true weightlessness. However, once the balloon trip is over and it's time to head back to earth, the capsule will enter a period of freefall where the occupants will get to experience the feeling of weightlessness.

The World View capsule will experience aerodynamic deceleration as the airfoil becomes more effective as the altitude decreases. Indications are that the airfoil is steerable allowing the two pilots of the capsule to guide it back to landing more or less where they want it to be.the big selling point of the services that it's significantly cheaper than a trip aboard Virgin Galactic.

SOURCE: The Register