Tag Archives: World View

Lawsuit against Tucson and balloon company to proceed

A judge has ruled that 3 of 4 counts in a lawsuit against the deal between Tucson and the space balloon company World View can go forward.

The judge has also said that she will rule on the fourth count soon.

While the deal itself might be a great idea for Tucson, it does appear from the lawsuit that the city violated state laws in negotiating it. I suspect this suit to win eventually.

Why the Goldwater Institute sued to block Tucson space deal

Link here.

The fundamental reason is that the Institute believes that, in signing its deal with World View to build its headquarters and launch site in Tucson, Pima County violated several laws as well as Arizona’s constitution. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and thus government officials should not be allowed to violate those laws, even if they have the best of intentions.

I must say that, though I have no doubt that putting World Views space tourism balloon company in Tucson would be financially good for the city and Arizona, allowing elected officials to break the law to make deals with private companies is a very bad way to do it, and will in the end lead to far worse consequences.

Pima county files motion to dismiss World View lawsuit

In the heat of competition: The Arizona county government that made a deal with the space tourism balloon company World View to help them build their launch facilities in Tucson has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute that claims the deal is illegal.

I don’t know if the deal was illegal, but I suspect that even if it was the county will win and the deal will go through. Too much money at stake.

Money for space

The competition heats up: Three stories today about investors putting money into different space related business ventures are worth consolidating into one post, as they all indicate the same thing.

The first story involves a takeover by SES of the O3b satellite constellation that provides internet service globally. They already have 12 satellites in orbit, and have plans to launch 8 more by 2019. A partial list of their customers (Digicel Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, American Samoa Telecom, Speedcast, Rignet, Bharti International (Airtel), Timor Telecom, CNT Ecuador, Entel Chile and NOAA) illustrates the solidity of the company’s success, which is also why SES is spending $20 million to own it.

In the second two stories we find investment capital being committed for two different and unusual space-tourism-related companies. World View plans to launch high altitude balloons with passengers, taking them up 20 to 30 miles for a several hour journey on the edge of space. That they have secured an additional $15 million in investment even as their deal with the city of Tucson is being challenged in court indicates the confidence the investors have in their business.

SpaceVR is even more interesting. They plan to launch smallsats with cameras providing a 360 degree view, and link them to virtual reality headsets here on Earth. Consumers will then be able to experience being in space, without actually going. Though the press release does not specific how the product will be sold, it suggests that they are aiming for the education and museum market.

All three stories prove that the modern investment community, normally very adverse to high risk endeavors, is increasingly finding that the financial benefits of space travel and anything related to it are worth the financial risks. This fact can only lead to good things for the eventual development and exploration of space.

Moreover, the third story once again demonstrates the value of reducing the cost to get into orbit. SpaceVR’s idea is a very good one, but it couldn’t have happened before SpaceX forced a reduction in launch prices. Beforehand, no one could have afforded to buy the product because of the high cost to launch the satellites. Now, because the launch price is affordable, it can be marketed at a realistic price.

In other words, lower the price, and you increase the number of customers able to buy your product. I expect the rocket business to boom in the coming years.

Tucson to be sued over space tourism deal

In the heat of competition: A think-tank has announced that it plans on suing the Tucson city government over its deal with the space tourism balloon company World View.

Jim Manley, Senior Attorney with the conservative think-tank Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, told us he’s filing the suit tomorrow on behalf of three Pima County residents. “We’re asking the court to put a stop to the World View deal and all of the deals that come out of it.”

Manley calls the World View deal “illegal” for, among other things, violating Arizona’s Gift Clause. He says, “What the Gift Clause requires is that money be spent for a public purpose, and that the government receive fair compensation in return.” The lawsuit will also state the deal violates competitive bidding laws, because, Manley says, it was negotiated in secret, with no public bidding.

As much as I think it smart of the city government to try to encourage this business to settle in Tucson, I know, living here in Tucson, that a taint of corruption lingers over the city’s very liberal government. It would not surprise me if this deal includes some of that.

World View gets incentives to settle in Arizona

The competition heats up: The space tourism balloon company World View has obtained $15 million in subsidies from an Arizona county to base their operation in Tucson.

Today’s go-ahead from the Pima County Board of Supervisors represents an initial step toward setting up the tourist operation. The supervisors voted to invest $15 million, backed by future tax revenue, to build the spaceport. World View would lease the facility from the county over a 20-year term to pay back the investment. The facility would include a launch pad, headquarters building and manufacturing facility, World View said.

Increasingly it looks like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is being left in the dust as other companies move forward with their own plans.

A new company is now offering balloon flights to the edge of space for one third the price of a suborbital flight.

The competition heats up: A new company is now offering balloon flights to the edge of space for one third the price of a suborbital flight.

World View passengers will soar to an altitude of about 30 kilometers (about 100,000 feet) — far short of SpaceShipTwo’s intended 110-kilometer (68-mile) high peak. Inside the capsule there will be little sensation of microgravity. Rather, the whole point of the ride is the view. “You can be sitting up there having your beverage of choice watching this extraordinary spectacle of the Earth below you and the blackness of space,” project co-founder and Paragon president Jane Poynter told Discovery News. “It really is very gentle. You can be up at altitude for hours, for days for research if you need to be… I think we have the opportunity to give a really, really incredible experience to people — and for a lot less than most of what’s out on the market right now,” she said.