WORLDWIDE VIEW EXPERIENCE

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Virgin Galactic is capturing the public’s imagination with an exhilarating, 2,500 mph rocket ride into space. But NASA contractor Paragon--with their special expertise in pressurized capsules--has a different vision. For $75,000, they’d like to offer a more scenic experience called World View: A serene, half-day balloon ride 100,000 feet into the stratosphere.

To envision this new form of space travel, Paragon tapped designers at Priestmangoode--a company known for crafting high end interiors (and even some exteriors) for airlines, cruise ships, hotels, and rail.

“World View isn’t a quick, ‘Look out the window! Experience weightlessness! And you're down!’ trip,” explains Priestmangoode Director Nigel Goode. “It might launch at dusk so you see the sun rising, the curvature of Earth, and Earth below. Then you could look up and see the blackness of space and stars and everything else.”

“We wanted it to appear incredibly robust and safe, and slightly over-engineered so things do look quite beefy and sturdy,” Goode says. “[People should know] it’s gonna do the job.”

As for what World View will feel like on the inside for its eight riders (six passengers, two crew), that part of the experience hasn’t actually been designed yet. Goode admits that proper ergonomics will be a tight fit--though riders will be able to stand, he promises--and due to weight constraints, the cabin won’t be “lavish.” But you can hear it in Goode’s cadence--getting faster as he talks--that he’s not despondent at the project constraints, but eager for the challenge to redefine space travel.

“We’re just getting started creating the right aesthetic for this. There are a lot of cues that can be taken from jets and aircraft, but it will have its own aesthetic, with an interior and finish that you’d expect for space travel,” Goode says. “We’re chomping at the bit to get to the next steps.”

If all goes well, World View will launch in 2016.