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.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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