WASHINGTON: Seeking to cash in on the space tourism boom, a US firm is offering rides in a helium balloon 30 kilometers (20 miles) up to gaze down on Earth. The Arizona-based company World View Enterprises said in a statement Tuesday the trip will cost $75,000 (55,000 euros) and travelers will stay aloft for about two hours in an eight-seat “luxuriously appointed space-qualified capsule”. The capsule will ultimately detach from the balloon and glide to the earth with a parachute.
The flights are scheduled to start in three years. “Passengers will be among the few to have seen the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes,” the statement said. “They will be able to gaze at the astounding views, the blackness of space, the brilliance of stars and the thin veil of atmosphere enveloping our planet - scenes previously witnessed exclusively by astronauts - for $75,000,” it added.–AFP