NASA Selects New Technologies to Flight Test on Parabolic Aircraft, Balloons & Suborbital Rockets

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine space technologies to test on low-gravity-simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital rockets. The opportunity to fly on these vehicles helps advance technologies closer to practical use by taking them from a laboratory environment to a real-world environment. The selections were made by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which conducts a competition approximately twice per year for funding to fly payloads using flight providers selected by the proposers. These space technologies are being tested using relatively low-cost flights that simulate spaceflight or just reach the “edge” of space.


World View Successfully Flight Tests Groundbreaking Altitude Control Technology

The World View Stratollite consists of a primary lift balloon (top), secondary balloons (middle), a solar panel power generation and distribution system, and a stratocraft payload-carrying structure (bottom). (Credits: World View)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Long-duration stratospheric research missions could allow scientists to collect vast amounts of data continuously for their payloads. Such missions could benefit NASA by maturing future space technology as well as allowing for Earth observations, such as storm monitoring and forest fire tracking.


World View Executes First Multi-day Stratollite Mission

Getting ready for launch. (Credit: World View)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, today announced it has successfully executed its first multi-day development flight of the high-altitude Stratollite™ vehicle. After five days in the stratosphere, this milestone clearly demonstrates the viability of the world’s first-ever, long-duration, navigable stratospheric payload vehicle for commercial applications with global impact.


World View Flies First Stratollite Balloon from Spaceport Tucson

World View launches its first Stratollite balloon from Spaceport Tucson. (Credit: World View)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) — World View is thrilled to announce the successful execution of its first ever Stratollite launch from Spaceport Tucson. This milestone launch signals the operational opening of the global hub for commerce and science in the stratosphere – Spaceport Tucson.


World View Clips Wings of Chicken Sandwich’s Stratospheric Flight

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

World View had to cut the KFC Zinger chicken sandwich balloon flight short after less than a day due to a leak in one of the control systems. The flight had been set to last four days.

CEO Jane Poynter’s update is below.

World View is happy to report the results of its recent Stratollite shakedown cruise in announcing both a successful launch and test of its new Stratollite vehicle, altitude control and steering capabilities. Within the first few hours of flight, all system test objectives were met, including the keystone altitude control capability, solar power generation and successful distribution, high-definition video downlink, and effective steering of the vehicle. Our special payload passenger, KFC’s Zinger Spicy Chicken Sandwich, performed flawlessly and experienced incredible views from the edge of space. After ~17 hours of flight and control, World View chose to return the Stratollite and Zinger to earth earlier than anticipated due to a small leak in one of the company’s innovative new altitude control balloon systems. That said, we are extremely pleased with the results of the mission. Many of these systems were flown for the very first time and tested together simultaneously. Pending an analysis of large amounts of flight data and key learnings from this mission, World View plans to launch additional Stratollite test missions with increasing flight duration in the near future.

Jane Poynter
World View

Chicken Sandwich Launched into Stratosphere

KFC’s campaign is inaccurate; the World View balloon that was launched this morning is taking the sandwich into the stratosphere for four days. It’s not going anywhere near space.

In any event, the promotion is paying for World View’s flight test of its balloon and remote sensing observation system, so there is that.

I don’t have a TV, so I’m a little behind on the Dr. Who-like regeneration of Colonel Sanders. Can someone explain why Rob Lowe is playing the colonel as Rob Lowe? He seems to be making no attempt to imitate the voice or mannerisms.

Bad News Everyone! Chicken Sandwich Launch Scrubbed Due to Weather

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

Got thw following note from Jane Poynter in my email box this afternoon about the World View Kentucky Fried Chicken…umm…thing they’re doing. (I have a feeling I’m going to miss the launch of this thing on Thursday due to extreme drowsiness.)

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update for those interested in tuning in to the live broadcast of our upcoming Stratollite launch. Weather conditions are now looking good for launch the morning of this Thursday, 6/22.

As you know, KFC (yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken… which is still funny to say) is sponsoring this mission, so they’ll be running the live broadcast feed and narration. Enjoy it and take the commentary with a fun grain of salt. But, visually speaking, this will be a fantastic opportunity for you to witness our launch operation in real time.

The final timing for launch is TBD, but the live feed will start somewhere between 3:45 am – 4:45 am PT (for all you early birds). Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages for real-time updates on launch timing. And save this URL, as this is where KFC will be hosting the live broadcast feed:

How fun!

– Jane Poynter
CEO, World View


World View to Send KFC Chicken Sandwich to Stratosphere

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, today announced it will launch the first extended duration development flight of its high-altitude Stratollite™ vehicle later this month, carrying a commercial payload from flight partner KFC. With the launch window opening on June 21, this will be World View’s first ever live broadcast launch, and its most important to date for the Stratollite vehicle. This pivotal milestone signals the market readiness of the first-ever, long-duration, navigable stratospheric payload vehicle, opening an entirely new economy and application markets in the stratosphere.


World View, Ball Aerospace Demonstrate Persistent Remote Sensing from Stratollite Platform

World View Stratollite module. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

TUCSON, Ariz.(Ball Aerospace PR) — World View and Ball Aerospace successfully completed a Stratollite mission earlier this month, demonstrating early capabilities for remote sensing applications from the stratosphere, nearly 70,000 feet above Earth. This latest mission is a pathfinder for a commercial offering of low-cost, persistent, high-resolution imagery data from the stratosphere and is part of the collaboration between the two companies.


Group Sues to Stop World View Deal With Pima County

World View headquarters in Pima County. (Credit: World View Enterprises)
World View headquarters in Pima County. (Credit: World View Enterprises)

The deal between near-space company World View and Pima County has sparked legal action.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned htat Pima County’s loan of $15 million to World View Enterprises, a space tourism company, has sparked a lawsuit.

The defendants: Pima County, its entire Board of Supervisors, and County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

Jim Manley, Senior Attorney with the conservative think-tank Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, told us he’s filing the suit tomorrow on behalf of three Pima County residents. “We’re asking the court to put a stop to the World View deal and all of the deals that come out of it.”

Manley calls the World View deal “illegal” for, among other things, violating Arizona’s Gift Clause. He says, “What the Gift Clause requires is that money be spent for a public purpose, and that the government receive fair compensation in return.” The lawsuit will also state the deal violates competitive bidding laws, because, Manley says, it was negotiated in secret, with no public bidding.

Construction on “Spaceport Tucson” is continuing on 30 acres near the airport, with completion targeted by November. The county says say having space tourism here will be a giant leap for the economy. Customers would travel 100,000 feet above earth in a high-tech balloon, at a cost per trip of $75,000. Manley says, “It’s not even as if the county is spending money on an amenity that the whole community can enjoy. This is a toy for the super-rich.”

NASA Seeks Suborbital Space Companies to Flight Test Space Technologies

Current commercial suborbital spaces launch providers that are under contract for the Flight Opportunities Program. (Credit: NASA Collage / Monroe Conner)
Current commercial suborbital spaces launch providers that are under contract for the Flight Opportunities Program. (Credit: NASA Collage / Monroe Conner)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has been working with commercial space companies for several years to deliver astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. The agency has also sought commercial suborbital space companies to verify the performance of technologies and systems in suborbital space with the goal of reducing the cost and risk of future orbital space missions.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities Program has re-opened its solicitation seeking to on-ramp suborbital reusable launch vehicle services that will fly NASA internally sourced or NASA-directed research and development technology payloads.  The suborbital flights will provide these payloads exposure to space, reduced gravity or high-altitude environments required to test technology performance and advance technology readiness levels.

NASA awarded the first on-ramp solicitation to Near Space Corporation, Tillamook, Oregon, in September 2015, that joined original vendors Masten Space Systems, Mojave, California; UP Aerospace, Littleton, Colorado; Virgin Galactic, New York City; and World View, Tucson, Arizona, in providing flight services using suborbital launchers and balloons.

The on-ramping solicitation allows for additional suborbital space companies with a proven flight record to qualify as new flight providers for the program. Aircraft microgravity flight services are outside the scope of this solicitation.

World View Hires Astronaut Ron Garan as Chief Pilot

Ron Garan in the ISS cupola. (Credit: NASA)
Ron Garan in the ISS cupola. (Credit: NASA)

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 22, 2016 (World View PR)  — World View, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has named retired NASA astronaut Ron Garan as chief pilot for current robotic flight operations and upcoming human spaceflights via balloon. A highly decorated fighter pilot, test pilot and astronaut who traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of Earth, Garan will be responsible for the safe and successful completion of all flight operations, including uncrewed robotic launches and passenger flights to the edge of space.