Firm to offer balloon rides from Alaska to edge of space

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A company wants to use an advanced balloon to fly customers from Earth’s surface in Alaska to the highest reaches of the planet’s atmosphere.

Florida-based start-up firm Space Perspective plans to use the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak to serve as one of the launch sites for the vehicle, called the Spaceship Neptune, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

The balloon rides will be manned by a flight crew taking eight passengers in a pressurised capsule suspended beneath a hydrogen balloon the size of a football stadium.

Each passenger could pay an estimated USD125,000 for a six-hour journey.

Alaska Aerospace Corp CEO Mark Lester said the high-altitude rides will be available from Kodiak in a few years and will support Alaska tourism.

“You will have people from around the world who want to come to Alaska and see the northern lights from the edge of space,” Lester said.