Successful Test Flight Is One Step Closer To Commercial Space Travel

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 3:02pm
(Courtesy of World View, J. Martin Harris Photography)
The World View team fills the high-altitude balloon with lift gas prior to launch.
(Courtesy of World View)
The World View parafoil flying at an altitude of 50,000 ft., breaking the world record for highest parafoil flight
(Rendering courtesy of World View)
A rendering of the passenger balloon flight. World View will have Voyagers gliding peacefully along the edge of space for a two-hour sailing-like experience.

Imagine floating in a balloon 120,000 feet above Earth. One company is a step closer to making that a reality after a successful test flight that broke the world record for the highest parafoil balloon space flight. 

The balloon took off from Roswell, N.M. and flew above the Earth’s atmosphere for more than four hours before coming back down. This test flight carried one tenth of the payload of a commercial flight.

Chief Technical Officer at World View, a commercial ballon space flight company, Taber MacCallum described what a traveler would see.

“So you would see the Earth from the top of Earth’s atmosphere. You would be there for a couple of hours drinking your champagne and updating Facebook and enjoying the scenery and talking with your companions," MacCallum said. 

And, yes, you heard him correctly. There will be Wi-Fi in this balloon flying three-times higher than a commercial airplane. Next is a test flight with the actual weight of a capsule with passengers. The company is estimating commercial trips will be available at the end of 2016. 

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