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The news article is somewhat humorous in claiming the following:
Shenzhen-based Kuang-Chi Group said it blasted the yellow-headed turtle, nicknamed “Little Cloud”, to an altitude of 21,000 metres inside a helium-filled craft. The launch took place from western China’s Xinjiang region at about 4am on Wednesday morning.
The craft landed safely at about 8.28am the same day, and the turtle was said to have survived the trip.
The company said it was the first time a live animal had been safely taken into near space, and that the trip paved the way for it to sell commercial flights to humans by 2018 or 2019. [emphasis mine]
The company’s claim, highlighted above, is so incredibly not true it raises questions about their whole story. Humans have been taken by balloon to these elevations several times. This might be a poor translation, but then it indicates some incompetence by the reporter.
Either way, this company is aiming for the high altitude tourism market that World View in Tucson had initially been focusing on, but now seems to have abandoned.
Posted as we slog our way through Phoenix traffic.