Opinion: The FAA needs to know where space starts and where balloons end

by | Oct 25, 2013 | Commercial human spaceflight, NASA, Space tourism | 0 comments

While we at the Flightglobal Hyperbola spaceflight blog do sometomes go “off piste”  as we write about other subjects with only loose links to spaceflight, we do however like to draw a line to define exactlly where space (and space stories) start and ends   We note this because a new firm is marketing a balloon trip to “the edge of space” with rides to altitides of circa 30km costing $75,000.  The balloon flights, marketed by World View Enterprises, http://www.worldviewexperience.com/are to be made in a capsule which has recently been defined for legal reasons as a “Commercial Space System” by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).   

By most modern definitions, space (and spaceflight) starts at 100km altitude and that this is the height that US miltary officers have to achieve to get their “astronaut wings” badge  (in the past this limit was set at the lower limit of 80km).   As such the FAA really needs to note the difference between what is spaceship and and what is a balloon – just in case any inflatable space structures get given a balloon misnomer – and just in case any of World View Enterprise passengers dares to call themselves an astronaut.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Blue Origin launches sixth space tourism sub-orbital flight

After a brief delay Blue Origin has successfully launched its sixth crewed sub-orbital flight. The launch took place at 1357 Read more

Blue Origin completes fifth human “crewed” suborbital mission

Blue Origin successfully launched its suborbital vehicle New Shepard NS-21 from Texas, USA at 1325 GMT on 4 June 2022. Read more

Billionaire Jared Isaacman works with SpaceX to provide private Polaris spacewalk missions

Jared Isaacman, the US billionaire who recently funded a part-charity human space mission called Inspiration4 which flew into orbit on Read more

Soyuz MS-20 returns ending 12-day space tourism mission

The crew of Soyuz MS-20 closed the hatch for the last time on 19 December 2021 at 1932 GMT. They Read more

Blue Origin launches six more “astronauts” including daughter of first US suborbital spaceman Alan B. Shepard

After a previous launch attempt on 9 December was called off due to high winds, Blue Origin managed to launch Read more

Soyuz 2-1a rocket launches Soyuz MS-20 on space tourist mission to ISS

A “vanilla” (no Fregat upper stage) Soyuz 2-1a rocket was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan at Read more

Nanoracks-Lockheed Martin team plots Starlab space station…then Blue Origin-Boeing-Sierra Space team announces Orbital Reef design

Nanoracks, in collaboration with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, has formed a team to develop the first free-flying commercial space Read more

As “Captain Kirk” boldly goes sub-orbitally into space UK’s Prince William lashes out at space tourism & gets a “photon torpedo” fired back

William Shatner, the Canadian-born actor who played Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek TV and film series, finally Read more