We may be one step closer to traversing the stratosphere in a giant balloon. World View, a little company making strides in the luxury space tourism business, has successfully floated their unorthodox space ship to a whopping (and slightly terrifying) 102,200′ above the ground, shattering the previous record by a factor 40,000′.
Unlike your average carnival balloon, World View’s stadium-sized air pocket is made of high performance polyethylene film able to withstand popping at high altitudes. The company has spent the past six months developing the steering parafoil and other technical nuances needed to keep an airtight space capsule aloft and suitably luxurious for future tourists.
A well-deserved tweet of success heralded the retrieval of the test balloon on Friday.
“The accomplishments of this flight further our two main objectives of manned spaceflight and advancing research,” Taber MacCallum, World View’s Chief Technology Officer, told Reuters. “The successful flight of the parafoil at this altitude brings us closer to flying private citizens safely to the edge of space and also allows us to continue our research and education program by providing safe access to the near-space environment.” In other words, pack your bags, kids: we’re going to space!