Worldview Stratollites are commercial high altitude balloons like Google Loon – Worldview had an explosion December 2017

World View Stratollites offer all the advantages of high-altitude balloons – low-cost, rapid deployability, and low-impact flight – with an innovative new development: the ability to fly a variety of trajectories – from circumnavigating the Earth to persistence over a specific location.

Stratollites can maintain position over specific areas of interest for days, weeks, and eventually months on end. This allows for more sustained measurements and monitoring capabilities over a targeted area. Stratollites can carry a wide variety of commercial payloads (sensors, telescopes, communications arrays, etc.), launch rapidly on demand, and safely return payloads back to earth after mission completion.

World View plans to offer private citizens views of the curvature of the earth amidst the blackness of space from inside a pressurized space-rated vehicle suspended beneath a high-altitude balloon. The space-rated capsule, which will hold six passengers and two crew members, will ascend during a nominal flight profile to an altitude of 100,000 feet (20 miles, or 32 kilometers) above earth.

During a test flight in June 2014 World View successfully deployed and remotely navigated a parafoil back down to earth from an altitude of 50,000 feet.

An October 2015 test flight brought a 10-percent scale passenger capsule to over 100,000 feet altitude; a full-scale test is anticipated to follow.

A September 2016 flight carried a small, unmanned, scientific payload to an altitude of over 100,000 feet on behalf of the Southwest Research Institute through NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

By January, 2016, World View was planning to operate commercial flights from Spaceport Tucson beginning in 2017.

In June, 2017, World View completed a flight featuring a KFC product.

In October, 2017, World View completed a first flight from Tucson, Arizona, staying aloft for five days: the longest duration of any World View flight to date.

On December 19, 2017, a balloon exploded causing tremors in the Tucson area that shook for over half of a mile.

World View released a statement saying that two employees were treated for ringing in their ears due to the explosion. Damage has been reported at World View, as well as in surrounding areas.

Following the completion of a successful fill test on the launch pad, during the process of releasing gas from the balloon, a World View test article ruptured.

There were no injuries, however, two World View employees reported ringing in their ears and were referred to a local Urgent Care for evaluation.

We also now know that some damage has been reported by a few residents and businesses in the area in addition to superficial facility damage at the site and we will be proactively coordinating with the parties affected.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this incident may have caused our local neighbors. We are working to fully understand the cause of the incident to ensure that it cannot and will not happen again.

With over 50 flights under its belt, World View is already routinely flying commercial payloads to the edge of space for a wide variety of government, commercial, and education customers.

* High-altitude capability (up to 46km)
* Heavy payload capacity (up to 4,500kg)
* Short to long duration flights (up to months at a time)
* Persistent flight over areas of interest
* Rapid deployment
* Pinpoint landing with recoverable payloads
* Downlink & Uplink Command Capability
* Standard and custom payload accommodations

World View and Raven Aerostar want to take advantage of the stratosphere’s tiered winds, which blow in different directions at different altitudes, to steer a balloon—or keep it in one spot. Using energy from solar panels to pump air into or out of a separate compartment, the balloons can raise and lower their density and therefore their altitude.

World View’s successful milestone test flight demonstrated its ability to routinely and safely carry heavy payloads to the near-space environment. This flight carried a 1,000lb payload to a final altitude of 100,475 feet (30,624 meters.)

World View’s Stratollite vehicle offers low-cost, long-duration (up to months at a time) persistence over customer-specified areas of interest.

Stratollites will support a range of applications, spanning industries like disaster recovery and first response, communications, weather forecasting, and surveillance aid for U.S. troops.

The Stratollite from World View on Vimeo.