Thanks, in part, to billionaire entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, space enthusiasts throughout the world have developed an even stronger desire to leave the planet and explore the final frontier.
World View Enterprises, an American company dedicated to expanding options for space exploration, has started working on a new strategy to help people accomplish their dreams of traveling outside of the planet’s borders.
As early as 2024, World View announced that it will start offering commercial flights in massive balloons, which will carry people on a journey to the Earth’s stratosphere (the second layer of the atmosphere).
A standard ride is expected to last between 6 and 12 hours and will take passengers up to an altitude of at least 100,000 feet (30,480 meters). From this vantage point, they’ll have a chance to see the curvature of the Earth and take in views they once thought were impossible to see.
The entire trip will last five days, and tourists will have a chance to explore a variety of other sites that hold cultural and historical significance.
These balloon flights are currently priced at $50,000 per person. This is no small sum, but it is still dramatically less expensive than other space tourism opportunities, which cost closer to $500,000 per person.
In an interview with Travel + Leisure, World View’s president and CEO Ryan Hartman explained that his company aimed to create a “different type of space tourism” with the goal of increasing access to space tourism through a more affordable travel option.
Hartman added that World View wants the journey to be accessible to all regardless of their physical abilities, too. They’ve done this by designing a gentle ascent and descent, which may be even gentler than that of a commercial plane.
Future space tourists can already book their tickets online via World View’s website. A virtual flight (and a closer look at the balloons) is available in the videos below: