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World View: 30km high balloon rides

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This outfit has some interesting people involved, including folks from Paragon (COTS life support systems) and former NASA bigwig Alan Stern.

http://www.newspacejournal.com/2013/10/22/world-view-to-offer-high-altitude-passenger-balloon-flights-regulated-as-a-launch-vehicle/

World View to offer high-altitude passenger balloon flights, regulated as a launch vehicle

A new company featuring some familiar faces is planning to develop a high altitude balloon system that will carry passengers to the edge of space on multi-hour flights, but be treated as a launch vehicle by federal regulators.

Tucson-based World View Enterprises is formally unveiling its plans today for developing a system that will transport eight people in a pressurized capsule up to an altitude of 30 kilometers (98,400 feet), where they will remain for up to several hours before descending to Earth under a parafoil. The company expects to begin these flights no earlier than 2016, charging $75,000 a ticket, considerably less than rocket-powered suborbital space tourism ventures like Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace.

The announcement is tied to the expected publication today by the FAA of a determination that World Views vehicle is considered a launch vehicle, and thus would be regulated by the FAAs Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) and not the aviation side of the FAA. That determination means that World View flights would take place under a launch license, just like commercial suborbital and orbital rocket launches.

That determination is based on the FAAs interpretation of the definition of a launch vehicle under federal law (specifically, 51 USC

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I would definitely sign on for that. That would be so fun.

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I wonder how much radiation exposure you would you get from a few hours up there. 

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Not that much more than a similar duration flight.

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ZOMG Don't Rock the POD!

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Not that much more than a similar duration flight.

Wouldn't it be much more given that there's practically no atmosphere there to protect you?

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In an airliner at 35,000ft you're already above ~81% of the atmosphere (~24 kPa vs. ~120 kPa.) That little remaining bit isn't much of a filter to energetic particles, especially protons (most of cosmic rays) and fast electrons. Those that impact the fuselage also tend to get turned into Bremstrahlung radiation (x-rays.)

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