World View’s drone balloon finishes 5-day flight

World View Stratollite balloon
World View’s Stratollite test balloon rises from Spaceport Tucson. (World View Photo)

World View Enterprises has executed its longest stratospheric balloon flight ever, steering a solar-powered payload through five days’ worth of testing at altitudes in excess of 55,000 feet.

The high-altitude outing marked the Arizona-based company’s first launch from Spaceport Tucson, and a significant milestone in its plan to fly commercial “Stratollite” missions.

“This is an enormous leap in our development program, and we are certain the Stratollite is going to forge a new path in how we observe, react to and collect data about our planet,” World View co-founder and CEO Jane Poynter said in a news release.

The Stratollite concept aims to provide many of the capabilities of a satellite at a cost that’s potentially orders of magnitude less, thanks to World View’s remote-controlled, balloon-borne platform.

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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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