The general director of the company World View, Jane Poynter, has explained that space trips in balloons her company is planning—capable of bringing tourists to 30 kilometers above Earth—will be ready to start in 2016 and that, at first, they have scheduled 50 flights per year.
The project that World View is preparing is an alternative to the space tourism of Virgin Galactic. In this case, there are no rockets since the flight is done with the propulsion of a balloon—similar to what was used by the adventurer Felix Baumgartner to jump from the stratosphere—that charges with a capsule from which tourists will be able to observe the blackness of space and have a unique vision of Earth, according to how the project is described on its website.
The view is the same that Virgin Galactic offers, but World View travelers will not be able to experience the absence of gravity, despite the fact that both 'tours' last around two hours. This could be the reason that, when facing the 250,000 euros it costs to fly with Richard Branson's company, World View travelers will only have to pay a little more than 54,000 euros.
Poynter has explained in an interview that they are still studying different launch sites. Among the main candidates are Arizona and Las Vegas.
Similarly, they wanted to claim the role of balloons in science “since some decades agoit was a very established market.” Poynter has indicated, in addition, that the company has already finished the component test of the capsule and is preparing for a test flight.
Regarding the company's offer to provide these trips, the general director has indicated that for the first year they have scheduled 50 annual trips, although she pointed out that “afterward, it will depend on demand” and that the company doesn't doubt “growth.”