World View Balloon Wants to Be the Ryanair of Space

By Chris Mills on at

Virgin Galactic a bit pricey for you? Understandable, since a ticket runs over £150,000. World View understands this, which is why they're gearing up to launch a rival service, which gets you a little less altitude for a lot less money (credit card booking fee not included).

Unlike Virgin Galactic, which is essentially a mini-space-shuttle that flies 68 miles above the Earth, World View is a balloon with a capsule hanging below -- think Felix Baumgartner, but with a more refined return trip. That means, for starters, that you're not going quite as high -- a mere 100,000 feet, or about 19 miles. Sadly, that's not nearly high enough to experience weightlessness. But, you do get one helluva good view, and you don't have to wear some silly space suit.

More importantly, it's cheap. Well, ok, a ticket will cost £50,000, so not exactly chump change, but more affordable than Virgin Galactic, and with flight times lasting hours not minutes, you've got more time to enjoy the view, and the complimentary glass of champers, which isn't something you get on Branson's machine. The first flights are slated for 2016, with ticket sales expected to start in the next few months. [Slashgear, Washington Post]