Tech

The balloons that could fly tourists to the edge of space

Updated 6:03 AM ET, Thu March 5, 2015
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Two companies are racing to take passengers to near space using helium balloons. Pictured, a rendering of a World View balloon. World View
Up to six passengers would fit in World View's pressurized capsule, which will be suspended beneath a helium balloon. World View
In February 2015, World View announced it had successfully flown a parafoil from a height of 102,200 feet (about 31 kilometers). World View
Zero2infinity plans to launch passengers to near space using "Bloons," for €110,000 ($124,000) a time. Balloons would take between 1.5-2 hours to reach maximum altitude. Zero2infinity
Rather than reaching space itself, the balloons would only travel to a height of between 30-40km, but passengers would still see the curvature of Earth against a black sky. World View
"Our capsule is fitted with state-of-the-art space-rated life support systems," says Poynter, of the World View system. World View
The descent back to Earth takes around an hour. The capsule lands in a predetermined location, guided back to Earth by a pilot and mission control. World View
Pictured, a "micro" version of the Bloon. Once built, both the Bloon and World View cabins will have toilet facilities and you would even be able to dine on board. Zero2infinity
A "Micro Bloon" spherical capsule on a test flight, far above the Earth. Zero2infinity