From Tucson to space; local company aims for the stars - Tucson News Now

From Tucson to space; local company aims for the stars

Artist's concept of a World View balloon at the edge of space. (Credit: World View) Artist's concept of a World View balloon at the edge of space. (Credit: World View)
Artist's concept of a World View balloon at the edge of space. (Credit: World View) Artist's concept of a World View balloon at the edge of space. (Credit: World View)
Artist's concept of a World View space capsule, carried under the balloon, at launch site. (Credit: World View) Artist's concept of a World View space capsule, carried under the balloon, at launch site. (Credit: World View)
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  • BREAKING: Police investigate homicide on Tucson's east side

    BREAKING: Police investigate homicide on Tucson's east side

    Sunday, June 25 2017 1:17 AM EDT2017-06-25 05:17:01 GMT

    Tucson Police said a man died, and a homicide investigation is underway on the east side. TPD Sergeant Kimberly Bay said it happened Saturday night in the 2300 block of South Saddleback Ave, near Golf Links, east of Pantano. TPD did not immediately release information on a suspect. Tucson News Now has a crew heading to the scene, and will post updates as they become available. MOBILE USERS: Download our app on your Apple and Android devices. Copyright ...

    Tucson Police said a man died, and a homicide investigation is underway on the east side. TPD Sergeant Kimberly Bay said it happened Saturday night in the 2300 block of South Saddleback Ave, near Golf Links, east of Pantano. TPD did not immediately release information on a suspect. Tucson News Now has a crew heading to the scene, and will post updates as they become available. MOBILE USERS: Download our app on your Apple and Android devices. Copyright ...

  • Overnight fire damages northwest side restaurant

    Sunday, June 25 2017 3:19 PM EDT2017-06-25 19:19:45 GMT
    Source: Northwest Fire DistrictSource: Northwest Fire District

    Northwest Fire District crews responded to an overnight fire on the northwest side of Tucson that caused major damage to a restaurant early Sunday morning.  

    Northwest Fire District crews responded to an overnight fire on the northwest side of Tucson that caused major damage to a restaurant early Sunday morning.  

  • UPDATE: TPD arrests homicide suspect in overnight stabbing; identify victim

    UPDATE: TPD arrests homicide suspect in overnight stabbing; identify victim

    Sunday, June 25 2017 1:44 PM EDT2017-06-25 17:44:37 GMT
    Police identified suspect as 38-year-old Michael Thomas Payne. (Source: TPD)Police identified suspect as 38-year-old Michael Thomas Payne. (Source: TPD)

    Police have made an arrest of a homicide suspect after investigating the scene on the east side of Tucson, and have identified the man killed.

    Police have made an arrest of a homicide suspect after investigating the scene on the east side of Tucson, and have identified the man killed.

Development is underway and reservations are being taken for a flight that's out of this world. Tucson-based Paragon Space Development is building a space capsule and high-altitude balloon that will take passengers high above planet earth for a trip into space.

"You'll see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space," says Jane Poynter, CEO of World View Enterprises, another locally based company specializing in near-space tourism travel. Poynter enthusiastically describes what passengers will experience, "imagine seeing the sunrise, you're above all the atmosphere and you see at terminus, where night and day meet. You see that move across the earth below you. It's going to be amazing."

World View and Paragon are working on the collaborative effort by designing, building, testing, then sending a spacecraft to an altitude of 100,000 feet. That's nearly 19 miles above earth. It's not your typical hot air balloon. It's a whole other level of technology but uses the same basic concept. When the massive balloon is fully inflated, and rising to the edge of space, it's the size of a football stadium.

Poynter says it can be a life-changing event, "when people go up there and they actually see the earth in the blackness of space, hanging there suspended, I think it has to change the way you think about the planet we live on."

To help get this project off the ground is former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, "Paragon has been a company that's been in Tucson almost 20 years and this will be another Tucson, at least initially for development of the spacecraft, a Tucson based company so it's great for the city, it's great for the state. We're looking at launching from Page, Arizona so it's a good thing for Arizona."

Kelly says they haven't decided on whether or not he'll will sit behind the controls of the spacecraft, "I could be," but for now he's overseeing the flight crew operations.

It's a flight like no other. Virgin Galactic is offering rides in a rocket powered trip to space for $250,000. The cost of the balloon capsule is $75,000 for a 4 1/2 hour ride. Without the roar of the rocket, Kelly says, it will be a much more tranquil and comfortable experience, nothing like the thunderous blast offs he experienced at NASA, "from my experience, flying in space four times, by far the four most exciting things I've ever done in my life."

Kelly says this kind of technology, using high-altitude balloons, has been around for decades, "Our country has a long history in high-altitude balloons so there's a lot of research that's been done there, a lot of development of hardware. We're going to do something different, that we're going to bring up 6 passengers and 2 crew members to an altitude that only six individuals have been to in a helium balloon or in a balloon period."

Meaning you could go where few have gone before, if you can afford the price.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013. Tucson News Now. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Family honored for blood donations after sister's disappearance

    Family honored for blood donations after sister's disappearance

    Sunday, June 25 2017 7:41 PM EDT2017-06-25 23:41:33 GMT
    John Seagle, brother-in-law to Kay Read, honored by Arizona Blood Services Region staff (Source: American Red Cross)John Seagle, brother-in-law to Kay Read, honored by Arizona Blood Services Region staff (Source: American Red Cross)

    They were honored and recognized following a tragedy.  

    They were honored and recognized following a tragedy.  

  • Crews make multiple heat related rescues in Arizona on Saturday

    Crews make multiple heat related rescues in Arizona on Saturday

    Sunday, June 25 2017 6:53 PM EDT2017-06-25 22:53:51 GMT
    Source: KOLDSource: KOLD

    Crews make multiple heat related rescues in Arizona on Saturday. 

    Crews make multiple heat related rescues in Arizona on Saturday. 

  • Overnight fire damages northwest side restaurant

    Sunday, June 25 2017 3:19 PM EDT2017-06-25 19:19:45 GMT
    Source: Northwest Fire DistrictSource: Northwest Fire District

    Northwest Fire District crews responded to an overnight fire on the northwest side of Tucson that caused major damage to a restaurant early Sunday morning.  

    Northwest Fire District crews responded to an overnight fire on the northwest side of Tucson that caused major damage to a restaurant early Sunday morning.  

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