Firm to offer balloon rides from Alaska to the edge of space

Posted 6/30/20

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A company wants to use an advanced balloon to fly customers from Earth's surface in Alaska to the highest reaches of the planet's atmosphere.

Florida-based startup firm …

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, subscribers will receive unlimited access to the website, including access to our Daily Independent e-edition, which features Arizona-specific journalism and items you can’t find in our community print products, such as weather reports, comics, crossword puzzles, advice columns and so much more six days a week.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

Firm to offer balloon rides from Alaska to the edge of space

Posted

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A company wants to use an advanced balloon to fly customers from Earth's surface in Alaska to the highest reaches of the planet's atmosphere.

Florida-based startup firm Space Perspective plans to use the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak to serve as one of the launch sites for the vehicle, called the Spaceship Neptune, The Anchorage Daily News Sunday.

The balloon rides will be manned by a flight crew taking eight passengers in a pressurized capsule suspended beneath a hydrogen balloon the size of a football stadium.

Each passenger could pay an estimated $125,000 for a six-hour journey.

Mark Lester, CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corp., said the high-altitude rides will be available from Kodiak in a few years and will support Alaska tourism.

“You will have people from around the world who want to come to Alaska and see the northern lights from the edge of space,” Lester said.

Alaska Aerospace and Space Perspective will test and refine spaceport operations and secure spaceflight licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Space Perspective plans to complete an unmanned test flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida next year.

Passengers will begin with a two-hour ascent to about 19 miles (31 kilometers) above Earth. They will then be able to post on social media about the experience or send data.

"Neptune then makes a two-hour descent under the balloon and splashes down, where a ship retrieves the passengers,” along with the capsule and balloon, Alaska Aerospace said.

Capsule recovery would occur in the waters around Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Island chain, depending upon the seasonal wind patterns.

The balloon design is derived from technology NASA has used for decades to fly large research telescopes, Space Perspective said.

Comments