If the thought of a rocket ride to space -- or the $250,000 price tag to get there -- leaves you feeling queasy, an Arizona firm thinks it has a gentler, less expensive alternative.
World View, an offshoot of privately owned Paragon Space Development Corp., is developing a balloon-launched, near-space ride for $75,000 -- less than one-third the current cost to fly on Virgin Galactic's suborbital SpaceShipTwo.
World View passengers will soar to an altitude of about 30 kilometers (about 100,000 feet) -- far short of SpaceShipTwo's intended 110-kilometer (68-mile) high peak. Inside the capsule there will be little sensation of microgravity. Rather, the whole point of the ride is the view.
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"You can be sitting up there having your beverage of choice watching this extraordinary spectacle of the Earth below you and the blackness of space," project co-founder and Paragon president Jane Poynter told Discovery News.
"It really is very gentle. You can be up at altitude for hours, for days for research if you need to be... I think we have the opportunity to give a really, really incredible experience to people -- and for a lot less than most of what's out on the market right now," she said.