They Want to Sell Balloon Rides 19 Miles Up. Haven’t We Heard This Before?

That is only about one-third of the way to the 62-mile altitude that is often considered the boundary of outer space, but it is still high enough to see that our planet is indeed round. Ms. Poynter said the price for a ride would be more expensive than the $75,000 that World View had planned to charge, probably more than $100,000.

The new design is simplified. Instead of trying to steer by finding winds blowing in the desired direction, Space Perspective’s balloon will lift off and head in the direction of that day’s winds. By letting out some of the hydrogen that makes the balloon lighter than air, the craft slowly descends to a splashdown in either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.

The craft will have a parachute to allow a safe return if the balloon somehow deflated.

Ms. Poynter said Space Perspective has to obtain enough investment for its initial development work, including an uncrewed test flight in the first quarter of next year. If all goes according to plan, the first flights with passengers might take off around the beginning of 2025, nearly a decade after the target date the founders had set for World View.

In addition to World View, Ms. Poynter and Mr. MacCallum have attempted other ambitious space projects. They worked on the balloon and craft that lifted Alan Eustace, a Google executive, to near the top of the stratosphere for a successful record-setting parachute dive in 2014.

They also collaborated with Dennis Tito, an entrepreneur who is one of the few private citizens to visit the International Space Station, on Inspiration Mars, a private endeavor to launch two people on a flyby of the red planet. That proved out of reach because available rockets were not powerful enough.

“We have done a lot of hard things in our day,” Mr. MacCallum said, “and some have worked out and some of them haven’t. And, some of them were, ‘Wouldn’t it be fantastic?’ Maybe low probability, but worth giving it a shot like Inspiration Mars.”

Ms. Poynter said a marketing study that Space Perspective commissioned found that roughly 2 million people would be interested in their balloon trips, potentially a market worth a quarter of a trillion dollars.

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