Saturday, October 24, 2015
Floating Above The Earth - Exploration is the pinnacle of the human experience.
How high is space?
Space is defined by the point at which the Earth’s atmosphere ends, and the vacuum of space takes over.
The first official definition of space came from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the predecessor to NASA), who decided on the point where atmospheric pressure was less than one pound per square foot. This was the altitude that airplane control surfaces could no longer be used, and corresponded to roughly 50 miles, or 81 kilometers.
Shortly after that definition, the aerospace engineer Theodore von Kármán calculated that above an altitude of 100 km, the atmosphere would be so thin that an aircraft would need to be traveling at orbital velocity to derive any lift.
This altitude was later adopted as the Karman Line by the World Air Sports Federation.
Read more about this: http://www.universetoday.com/25410/how-far-is-space/#ixzz360791slw
High-altitude balloon could take tourists into space
An Arizona company says it has successfully completed the first small-scale test flight of a high-altitude balloon and capsule being developed to let tourists float 20 miles above the earth.
The system uses a balloon similar to that used in 2012 to lift Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner 128,000 feet to make a world-record breaking 24-mile sky dive.
The company is still planning to begin its $75,000 per-person flights in 2016, she said. The balloons will lift a capsule carrying six passengers and two crew members 20 miles up, where they will float under a parafoil for about two hours before floating back down to earth. The capsule will be big enough for the passengers to walk around.
The selling point is the view of the Earth and seeing its curve, the company says. Other space-tourism ventures under development will rocket passengers the full 62 miles into space but on much shorter flights.Full article:http://seattletimes.com/html/travel/2023919444_spacetourismballoonxml.html