Take the 23-mile long journey up with World View to see the planet from a whole new perspective.
Space exploration is having a serious moment. Just this year, we’ve seen stunning, never-before-seen photos from the James Webb Space Telescope, celebrated the one year anniversary of the Perseverance rover on Mars and watched as SpaceX’s crew launched into space. With the ever-growing interest in space tourism, the opportunity to experience the vastness of space firsthand is becoming a real possibility for the average person—not only reserved for trained astronauts.
The newest way to get a bird’s eye view of the planet is through World View, which will take voyagers 100,000 feet above the Earth to see an unobstructed sunrise over the earth’s horizon, starting in 2024. Powered by helium stratospheric balloons, the flight launches from one of the Seven Wonders of the World, giving viewers a new perspective of ICONIC landmarks. The mission of World View is to impart the “Overview Effect” on those who take the journey—a shift in your perspective of humankind and the plant.
We asked Dale Hipsh, President of Tourism & Exploration at World View, our burning questions about this unique method of travel:
ICONIC LIFE: Space tourism is quickly growing—what makes World View unique?
Dale Hipsh: “There are many factors that set World View apart, including that our experiences focus on appreciating and experiencing both the wonder of Earth and space. Our commercial flights will launch from one of the Seven Wonders of the World Stratospheric Edition, including spaceports at the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Serengeti, Aurora Borealis, Amazonia, Pyramids of Giza and Great Wall of China. As part of this transformative journey to the stratosphere, Explorers will enjoy an immersive 5-day experience at our world-class spaceports at these ICONIC locations, allowing them to connect and appreciate the world wonder before they elevate to the edge of space. Our trips and flights are not just an adventure or vacation, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows participants to see Earth from a new perspective.
Our flights to the stratosphere will last approximately six to eight hours, providing World View Explorers with more time (than any other operator offers) to soak in the life-changing vistas at the edge of space. We imagine our Explorers to be elated after viewing our planet from space and experiencing the Overview Effect, that cognitive shift in perspective astronauts describe after seeing Earth as a fragile single unit in a vast universe. Take-off and landing are similar to an elevator ride, with gentle ascents and descents, slow and steady without g-force or turbulence, making our flights more accessible to explorers of all activity levels.
For the ultimate experience, our World View Explorer capsule comfortably seats eight explorers and two crew members. Onboard the pressurized, climate-controlled capsule, explorers will enjoy oversized windows for 360-degree viewing; ergonomic, fully reclining seats; beverage service with top shelf bar and libation options; custom dining and gourmet bite options; lavatory; streaming and mobile communication capabilities throughout duration of flight; and a personal viewing screen at each seat. Each capsule will also be outfitted with a telescope to maximize viewing. The Wi-Fi and phone access will allow passengers to document and share the experience with loved ones in real-time. Imagine posting on Instagram pictures of the stars, or doing a Facetime call with a sunrise over Earth in the background, or doing the latest Tik Tok video craze from the edge of space.
In addition, this transformative experience to the edge of space beats the stereotype in the space tourism realm. The cost of a seat on a World View flight is lower than any other civilian space tourism flight available today, at $50,000 with a $500 deposit to reserve a seat and we also offer flexible financing. Our price point and flexible financing option is a first step towards making this life-changing experience more accessible – one of our key pillars here at World View. Also, the gentle nature of a balloon vs. a rocket allows us to offer to so many more people. We are truly democratizing space exploration.”
ICONIC LIFE: Can you tell us about the first flights and who can join them?
Dale Hipsh: “Our first commercial flights are slated for 2024. We recently had a great milestone and became the first company ever in the history of space tourism to have already sold more than 1,000 seats. World View flights are open to anyone above 18 years of age, and we encourage everyone to consider this trip and join us on our mission to Rediscover Earth.
Of course, the first flights will be monumental – symbolizing a new step forward for humankind and space travel that’s entirely unique and environmentally sustainable. Most importantly, the first flights will provide rich insight into the personal transformations which Explorers will experience after seeing Earth from above, at the edge of space, and as a fragile globe amid the infinite cosmos. This will be a period of individual and social reflection, and ideally, inspiration for people to radically improve life for future generations.”
ICONIC LIFE: Tell us about the science—how does it work?
Dale Hipsh: We design and manufacture zero-pressure balloons for our flights. Zero-pressure balloons are made of a plastic film, called polyethylene. Zero-pressure balloons are unique in the fact that they have escape ducts to normalize the pressure in the balloon.
These openings allow gas to escape and prevent the pressure inside the balloon from building up during gas expansion as the balloon rises above Earth’s surface. As the balloon rises through Earth’s atmosphere, helium in the balloon expands and fills the balloon to a size that is big enough to fit an entire football stadium inside of it.
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ICONIC LIFE: Can you tell us about The Overview Effect?
Dale Hipsh: “Our goal is to create opportunities to shift perspectives about the planet we inhabit. Astronauts have long talked about ‘The Overview Effect,’ a radical new perspective that comes from seeing the world without borders or race and truly feeling something bigger than oneself. This perspective allows participants to see Earth as a living organism, appreciate its fragility, and develop a new respect for the planet that leads to a radically improved future for our planet and for humanity.”
"Astronauts have long talked about ‘The Overview Effect,’ a radical new perspective that comes from seeing the world without borders or race and truly feeling something bigger than oneself. This perspective allows participants to see Earth as a living organism, appreciate its fragility, and develop a new respect for the planet that leads to a radically improved future for our planet and for humanity.”
ICONIC LIFE: Who would you recommend this experience to?
Dale Hipsh: “This life-changing experience is recommended for everyone. World View aims to make space tourism accessible to travelers and adventurers of all types, with unique offerings available in six continents. Our operations in seven locations worldwide means space enthusiasts can reserve a seat at the spaceport of their choice. Over the course of human history, there have only been around 600 humans who have ever left the cozy confines of our planet, and of that number, only a couple dozen are considered ‘space tourists.’ Anyone considering a World View experience will be taking the first steps necessary to etch their name in the history books as one of the earliest space tourists in human history and enjoy a cosmic view of our planet. It’s wild to think we are at this point, but our early participants are right alongside history-makers who traveled by train, car and airplanes first. We hope to make space transportation as regular as a commercial air flight.
Our commitment to inclusivity and bringing this profound experience to a diverse group of people can be seen through our collaborative partnerships with Adrian Grenier, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador; creative musical duo, The Chainsmokers; and global conservation organization, the Rainforest Partnership. Through ongoing partnerships, we hope to continue to bring awareness and attract as many people as possible to our mission and space flight voyages.
Any person seeking to experience a newfound appreciation for the planet, gain radically new perspectives, or who wants to travel in a way that has never been done before would be thrilled to take part in this majestic and awe-inspiring adventure. And we are ready to welcome them.”
ICONIC LIFE: Can you talk about your background and what led you to this role?
Dale Hipsh: “I have more than 35 years of experience as a leader in the hospitality space. Before I was named President of Space Tourism and Exploration at World View, I served as Senior Vice President of Hotels at Hard Rock International. My career began with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and has included assignments with many industry leaders, including Sun International and its massive Atlantis casino and resort complex in The Bahamas. I have also held various positions with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel company. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to help build incredible hospitality destinations across the globe focusing on customer service and providing the most comfortable and best experience. Now, as the tourism and hospitality space expands to include space tourism, it was only natural that I join World View as they explore the final frontier. It’s incredible to think space tourism is a reality and it’s remarkable to bring the role of hospitality and customer experience into the space sector.”