Tucson-based company launches Arizona into space tourism

Oct 4, 2021, 5:00 AM | Updated: 10:05 pm

PHOENIX — One small step for man, one giant leap for Arizona tourism.

Tucson-based aerospace company World View on Monday officially launched the state’s first space tourism program.

Ryan Hartman, CEO of the company and an Arizona native, painted KTAR News 92.3 FM a picture of what the company plans to offer.

“We will be giving people an opportunity to ride in our space capsule to the very edge of space,” Hartman said.

“We’ll be above 99.9% of the Earth’s atmosphere, where they can experience viewing the curvature of the Earth against the backdrop of the darkness of space.”

With competitors like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic in the tourist space race, World View is hoping to focus on four key factors.

“We’ve put a lot of thought on what space tourism is and should be,” Hartman said.

“We came up with four beliefs and those four beliefs are that space tourism is about place, time, affordability and accessibility.”

World View intends to create launch sites stationed at each of the Seven Wonders of the World, with launches beginning by early 2024.

Hartman said that World View will offer earthly excursions leading up to the big ascension.

“The Grand Canyon is a great example,” Hartman said. “We’ll be offering helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon or hiking tours of the Grand Canyon or be able to take people to Hopi Nation or Navajo Nation to learn about the history of the land. Or, go to Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend, all of which gives them an idea of the fragility but also the beauty of the Earth.”

Then, the trip will culminate in a final launch where tourists will ascend to 100,000 feet above the Earth to view it from on high.

“When you’re at 100,000 feet and you see the curvature of the Earth, you start seeing the Earth without borders, you see it without race and you see it as something bigger than yourself,” Hartman mused.

Hartman went on to explain the value of time in space.

“It takes more than minutes to take in all that you’re seeing, so our space tourism experience is six to 12 hours,” Hartman said.

“In that time you can truly understand what you’re seeing, you can sit in the emotional experience of being up there and see those places that you immersed yourself in, in the days prior.”

The World View CEO said his hope is that this view, previously reserved for a select, able-bodied few, will now be available to many more.

The cost of this space tourism adventure starts at $50,000 with financing options available. The ride is designed to have less impact on the body to allow for older passengers and those with physical disabilities to travel with comfort.

“It’s a very gentle flight,” Hartman said. “You’re ascending to the edge of space, on a stratosphere balloon, so you’re going at about 12 mph at launch from the time you get to the top of the flight and then it’s a gentle descent.”

This means no succumbing to the force of 6 Gs and the flames of a typical rocket, making it more comfortable for a wider array of bodies.

The flight will carry eight passengers and two crew members and they anticipate launching three to four flights away.

Hartman anticipates about 3,000 tourists a year with others coming just to watch lift-off.

People can reserve their spot on one of the first lifts and find more information online.

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Tucson-based company launches Arizona into space tourism