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Startup wants to take you to the edge of space in a balloon

A new company plans to provide a near-space experience on the cheap(er). But there's nothing budget about the views.
By Tyler Falk, Contributor on
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1 of 6 Tyler Falk/ZDNET
The space tourism industry hasn't sent many paying tourists into space yet. But it's getting close. And as it begins to mature it will be a huge industry worth an estimated $1 billion in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. government.
 
The latest player in the blossoming industry -- alongside the likes of billionaire businessmen Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) -- is World View Enterprises, an Arizona-based company that wants to send people to the edge of space in high-altitude balloons. The idea, as Wall Street Journal reports, is to provide a space-like experience (though at an altitude of 100,000 feet it won't be a weightless one) without the training (and costs) needed to send someone to space. 
With a projected ticket price of $75,000, the goal is "bringing space to the masses as much as we can," said Taber MacCallum, Paragon's chief executive and co-founder. Revenue flights won't commence until 2016 at the earliest, while testing or regulatory complications could push that deadline out further.
By contrast, Virgin Galactic is planning to send space tourists about three times as high for around $200,000 starting next year
 
It might be a "budget" space tourism experience but it still looks pretty amazing. Click through the photos to see what a $75,000 high-altitude balloon trip gets you.
 
All images courtesy of World View Enterprises.
  
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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2 of 6 Tyler Falk/ZDNET

Image: World View Enterprises

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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3 of 6 Tyler Falk/ZDNET

Image: World View Enterprises

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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Image: World View Enterprises

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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5 of 6 Tyler Falk/ZDNET

Image: World View Enterprises

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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Image: World View Enterprises

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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