SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (KRQE) - It's a balloon ride far different from what you'd experience at Balloon Fiesta.
Arizona-based World View Enterprises says it plans on launching balloons to near-space, about 19 miles up, from New Mexico's Spaceport America as early as 2016.
The setup that would take those paying customers to new heights looks fairly similar to what took Felix Baumgartner 24 miles high during his record-breaking Red Bull Stratos jump last October.
Tickets cost $75,000. The helium balloon would launch with eight people inside a capsule attached underneath. Initially, six passengers and two crew members would fly, although a World View spokesperson says the company intends to eventually adjust that to seven passengers and one crew member.
After one to two hours of ascent, the balloon would level off for another one to two hours while customers enjoyed the view.
The capsule would then detach and descend in less than a half hour.
Unlike Spaceport anchor tenant Virgin Galactic's $250,000 flights, passengers on World View's would not be weightless.
While a World View spokesperson did not answer questions about why they chose New Mexico as a launch site, Spaceport America executive director Chris Anderson tells News 13 in a phone interview that it likely had to do with the Spaceport's location.
"We have 18,000 acres, we're already at a fairly good altitude to take off from," Anderson said. "So I think they've been intrigued with us for a while."
Anderson says World View helps add some variety to the Spaceport's business - a good thing.
"It's a sign that the commercial space industry is healthy and continues to move in an upward direction, literally," Anderson said.
Although Spaceport America is the launch site cited in the company's proposal to the FAA, World View says it's looking at other sites around the world, too.
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