Hot air balloon straight to the moon

Well it's not quite a hot air balloon, but Arizona space tourism industry start-up World View plans to take travellers on five-hour tours to near space, inside a capsule attached to a giant balloon. The sealed, fully pressurised capsule seats eight passengers, including two crewmen. 

Well it's not quite a hot air balloon, but Arizona space tourism industry start-up World View plans to take travellers on five-hour tours to near space, inside a capsule attached to a giant balloon. The sealed, fully pressurised capsule seats eight passengers, including two crewmen. Aside from providing 360-degree views through a viewport, the capsule specifications detail features such a bar and internet access, just in case you want to check in at "space" on Facebook.

World View's proprietary balloons are made from high performance polyethylene film and propelled by gas. Once inflated, they span the size of a football stadium. A parafoil remains open the entire flight, allowing the capsule to glide back down to earth at any time.

Tourists with a wanderlust that only space can fulfil are in luck, World View hopes to start operating flights within four years. While both the balloon and capsule are still in development, eager punters can already place a deposit on a flight. A near space voyage will set back astronauts-in-the making $75,000 per passenger. A $5000 deposit will secure travellers "the earliest available seat".

Source: World View, Wired

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