World View settles into Spaceport Tucson

Spaceport Tucson
The Breitling Jet Team flies over Spaceport Tucson in October. (World View Photo)

Arizona-based World View Enterprises is settling into its new offices at Spaceport Tucson and gearing up for what could be a high-flying year ahead.

World View offers a flight system that uses high-altitude balloons to loft payloads, and eventually people, beyond 100,000 feet in altitude. That height isn’t anywhere near the internationally accepted boundary of outer space, but it’s high enough to conduct weather research and provide an astronaut’s-eye view of the Earth below.

The company is already testing balloon platforms known as “Stratollites” that could do some of the work traditionally performed by satellites. Eventually, World View plans to take passengers up on hours-long flights, at a price of $75,000 a seat.

In January, World View struck a $15 million deal with Pima County for construction of Spaceport Tucson, which includes a headquarters and manufacturing facility as well as a 700-foot-wide circular balloon launch pad. The deal was contingent on the facility being ready by the end of this year.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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