World View To Build Launch Site In Arizona

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World View, which is developing a high-altitude balloon to carry tourists near the edge of space, will establish its launch site and manufacturing campus at Spaceport Tucson, Arizona. The company announced this week it will move in as the anchor tenant of a new business park after striking a deal with Pima County. World View continues to conduct tests in preparation for a first commercial flight after the new facility opens later this year. As described on its website, passengers in a pressurized capsule will be able to ride beneath a helium balloon to 100,000 feet, for a ticket price of $75,000 per seat. Other balloons built and launched from the spaceport will be hired to carry research equipment and other cargo to higher altitudes.

Pima County approved a plan this week to invest $14.5 million for the construction of the launch and manufacturing facilities, while World View will rent the site for 20 years at a cost of about $23.6 million, according to a Tucson Sentinel report. Company officials didn’t disclose financial details at the county board meeting, but said World View plans to increase its workforce from about 25 people to 400 over the next several years, according to the report. “Spaceport Tucson sends a strong message to the aerospace community that Southern Arizona is a new center for the commercial space business,” Poynter said in a statement. “Arizona has now joined the rapidly growing list of states in the commercial space industry.”