Jane Poynter & World View Making the Stratosphere Accessible

Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum are both veterans of Biosphere 2. (Credit: World View)

TUCSON (PISCES PR) — Jane Poynter is no stranger to big ideas. World View, the Tucson-based stratospheric flight and technology company, is just the latest game-changing venture for Poynter, the biospherian turned entrepreneur/CEO and humanitarian.

Most wouldn’t describe Ms. Poynter’s journey in life as ordinary. Quickly after primary school, Poynter developed an early and insatiable appetite for audacious projects. This gravitational force led her on an international trek of self-exploration and education that concluded with her earning a spot on the eight-person roster of Biosphere 2, a project widely regarded as the first large-scale, terrestrial space colonization experiment.

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World View Executes NASA Flight Opportunities Program Mission

Balloon launch. (Credit: World View)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, announced today that it has successfully executed a Z-Class high-altitude mission commissioned by the NASA Flight Opportunities program office (FOP) for two principal customers, the NASA Ames Research Center  and Space Environment Technologies, both of whom are studying radiation detection and its energy levels at different altitudes.

The Z-Class mission launched from Spaceport Tucson at approximately 9:39 a.m. PT on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

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World View Raises $26.5 Million Series C Round Led by Accel

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, announced today that it has successfully closed a $26.5M Series C round of financing led by Accel. The Series C also included major investment by Canaan and Norwest Venture Partners, both of whom participated in World View’s previous Series B round of financing.

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World View Obtains High Resolution Imagery From Stratollite

Example of fleet management (Credit: World View)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, released today the first-ever remote sensing imagery captured from their high-altitude Stratollite™ vehicle. The images were captured from altitudes ranging between 65,000 and 75,000 ft. with an off-the-shelf imaging sensor and show sub-meter resolution capability from the Stratollite.

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Update on World View Progress

World View Stratollite module. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference is being held in Colorado through Wednesday. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks are there tweeting away:

  • Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
  • Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
  • Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News

Below is an update on the progress of World View based on their tweets.

Jane Poynter
CEO
World View

  • 2017 has been a seminal year for World View in which the company has flown many times
  • Helium-filled balloons can carry Stratollite platforms with 50-kg payloads to altitudes of 16-30 km
  • Stratollites can provide payloads with 250 watts of power
  • Plan to double mass and power capacity within the next year
  • Balloons can remain stationary over specific areas and maneuvered to a location of the client’s choosing
  • Expect to increase flight rate to 1 or 2 per month quite quickly
  • balloons can only descend to ground at night, but plan to change that in the future
  • The stratosphere (aka, “ignorosphere”) is a good destination destination for science investigation
  • Stratollites can be used to test experiments and technology for Mars because the atmospheric pressure at the altitudes they reach are similar to that on the Red Planet
  • “very close” to substituting hydrogen for helium in balloons
  • Spaceport Tucson is focused on stratospheric flights
  • Other balloon operators are welcome at Spaceport Tucson where World View operates

Andrew Antonio
Director of Marketing
World View

  • Can provide imaging coverage for longer periods of time and at lower costs than UAVs
  • Goal is to provide best of satellites and UAVs using balloons
  • Using off-the-shelf cameras got a resolution of about 50 cm
  • Believes company can reduce imaging system to 10- to 15-cm resolution next year and communications rate to 100- to 500 Mbps
  • Ultimate goal is have constellations floating over regions providing continuous imaging

Appeals Court Sides With Pima County in World View Case

Getting ready for launch. (Credit: World View)

Pima County, Arizona won a round in its fight over an incentives package it provided to near-space balloon company World View.

The state Court of Appeals on Thursday said competitive bidding laws do not apply when counties are trying to lure a specific company to the area.

In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel acknowledged the purpose of competitive bids is to ensure that the county — and, by extension, the taxpayers — gets the most money for the property. But Judge Peter Eckerstrom, writing for the court, said that does not apply when the real goal is not immediate income but longer-term economic development.

Thursday’s ruling drew criticism from the Goldwater Institute, which represented three taxpayers who challenged the lease between Pima County and World View for a launch pad from which it hopes to launch individuals to the edge of space in balloons. The $15 million deal includes not only the lease of a 12-acre county-owned site but also construction of a launch pad and headquarters for the company….

Thursday’s ruling, even if upheld by the Supreme Court, does not end the legal battle. Goldwater still has a separate claim against Pima County that the deal violates a provision of the Arizona Constitution that makes it illegal for governments to give or lend money to private enterprises.

The Goldwater Institute plans to appeal the appeals court ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
CEO

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: https://yesweareactuallysendingachickensandwichto.space/.

How fun!

– Jane Poynter
CEO, World View

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