Dust off your out-of-this-world pickup lines. Thanks to science, you may soon have an appropriate place to use them. World View Experience, an Arizona-based commercial flight company, promises that by 2017 humans will be able to get sauced in space.
“Every self-respecting spacecraft should have a bar,” says Jane Poynter, co-founder of the company. And Worlview’s plush lodging capsules certainly will.
It would be tough to sip a martini while experiencing the G-forces of most rocket ships during takeoff. But you’ll be able to get soused on the ride up to the edge of the atmosphere with World View’s easy-going weather balloons, Poynter says. “It’s the complete opposite experience” from traditional space launches, explains Poynter. “There are no G-forces. It will be this gentle flight experience.” Which means your adult beverage—and the contents of your stomach—won’t go flying during liftoff.
Poynter describes the World View experience as similar to that of a really slow-moving private jet. Gas-filled balloons attached to each vessel will slowly lift a maximum of six people and two crewmembers 100,000 feet into the air. It will take around two hours to reach cruising altitude, which is above 99 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. From there, cocktail in hand, Worldview will coast at about 150 miles an hour for two hours. While you won’t technically be leaving Earth’s atmosphere, you’ll be able to see the curvature of the Earth on one side of the ship and the blackness of space on the other.
“Most people think space is for other people, but this is for everyone,” says Poynter, adding that there are no fitness requirements and no special training courses needed. To clarify, though, this is for everyone with an extra $75,000 to spend on a ticket. “If you think about space shuttles costing tens of millions, that’s really quite a bargain,” Poynter says.
Sure, this does all sound a little like that “Balloon Boy” hoax from 2009. But Poynter says World View is both very real and very safe. Her company is currently sending up unmanned test flights, and will be doing manned tests soon. She has a top-notch team overseeing the whole operation, including astronaut Mark Kelly as the director of flight crew operations and Dr. Alan Stern, the former head of science for NASA, serving as World View’s chief scientist.
As for what she’ll drink on her first trip up in the craft, Poynter says she’s a sucker for champagne. “I’m looking forward to sitting there and drinking my favorite champagne while looking out at the earth.”
One tip though: The ship will never go fast enough to have a zero-gravity effect. So your moonwalk isn’t suddenly going to become YouTube worthy—no matter what those three glasses of space booze are telling you.