The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – Seeking to cash in on the space tourism boom, a U.S. firm is offering rides in a helium balloon 30 kilometers (20 miles) up to gaze down on Earth.

The Arizona-based company World View Enterprises said in a statement Tuesday the trip will cost $75,000 (55,000 euros) and travelers will stay aloft for about two hours in an eight-seat “luxuriously appointed space-qualified capsule”.

The capsule will ultimately detach from the balloon and glide to the earth with a parachute.

The flights are scheduled to start in three years.

“Passengers will be among the few to have seen the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes,” the statement said.

“They will be able to gaze at the astounding views, the blackness of space, the brilliance of stars and the thin veil of atmosphere enveloping our planet – scenes previously witnessed exclusively by astronauts – for $75,000,” it added.

“Seeing the Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize our connection to our home planet and to the universe around us, and will surely offer a transformative experience to our customers,” said Jane Poynter, CEO of World View.

She is also the co-founder of Paragon Space Development Corporation, which developed the capsule and brought together investors to create the balloon flight venture.

The Federal Aviation Administration has classified the World View capsule as a spacecraft, according to an FAA letter published Tuesday by the company.

Technically, space begins at an altitude of 100 kilometers (60 miles). From there on up, aerodynamic flight is no longer possible because there is no atmosphere.

Virgin Galactic, created by British billionaire Richard Branson, plans flights to that sub-orbital altitude starting in 2014.

Virgin Galactic has already sold nearly 650 tickets. The price has gone from an original $200,000 to $250,000 (180,000 euros).

Paragon is working with multi-millionaire Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, in 2001. He plans a 500-day round-trip journey around Mars with two astronauts.

AFP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Attorney General Ashley Moody, left, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, center

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed his lawsuit in hopes of overturning the 2020 presidential election, appellate attorneys in Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody's office reportedly wasted no time mocking the frivolous legal effort.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, multiple lawyers had critical reactions to the lawsuit as they believed it likely would not go far. The publication reports that one lawyer described it as "bats--t insane" while another lawyer simply said it was "weird."

Keep reading... Show less

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Many MAGA Republicans have been claiming that the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building wasn't an insurrection. But when far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia appeared on Real America's Voice this week, she seemingly admitted that the January 6 rioters were insurrectionists.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}