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Company plans high-altitude balloon flights, licensed as space vehicle
Posted: Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 7:49 AM ET (1149 GMT)
World View Enteprises balloon capsule (World View Ent.) A new venture announced plans Monday to fly tourists into the upper atmosphere on a balloon that will be licensed as a launch vehicle. World View Enterprises said it will develop a capsule that would be lofted by a balloon to an altitude of 30 kilometers, remaining there for up to several hours before gliding back to the ground under a parafoil. The capsule would be able to carry six paying passengers, at a price of $75,000 each, plus two pilots. The announcement was tied to the publication of a determination by the FAA that the system should be licensed as a launch vehicle, and not fall under aviation regulations, because the capsule will be exposed to space-like conditions at that altitude and will be designed and tested to operate in the space environment. The company plans to begin operations no earlier than 2016.
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