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A view from Space Perspective's first test flight. Photo: Space Perspective

Space Perspective wants to take paying customers on flights into the upper atmosphere, 20 miles above the planet, and the company is ready to start selling tickets.

Why it matters: The company is stepping into an increasingly crowded market, with multiple space tourism companies — like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin — expected to stage their first commercial flights with passengers this year.

How it works: Instead of launching people to suborbital space using a rocket-powered vehicle, Space Perspective’s plan hinges on gently lofting passengers to the stratosphere in a capsule suspended from a balloon.

  • Each flight can carry up to eight passengers alongside a pilot in the capsule and a co-pilot on the ground.
  • The company plans to start flying its first customers in 2024, and a ticket aboard costs $125,000.
  • Space Perspective staged a successful test of its system on June 18, flying from Florida.

The big picture: Space Perspective is setting itself apart as a luxury experience for those hoping to get a little taste of space travel.

  • While rocket-powered suborbital flights last a matter of minutes, this trip will be about six hours and includes amenities like champagne, a bathroom and a 360-degree view within the company’s pressurized capsule.
  • "Couples might well get hitched with a small circle of family, introducing a whole new dimension on nuptials," Space Perspective said in a press release. "Others may relish the opportunity to celebrate a milestone birthday or even choose to take the company get-together to new heights."

Go deeper

Unruly airplane behavior on the rise, new FAA data shows

United Airlines planes are seen at Newark International Airport in New Jersey on Sept. 29. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Incidences involving unruly passengers on commercial flights are on the rise, according to Federal Aviation Administration data released Tuesday, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The new figures come as the FAA has sought to crack down on unruly passenger incidents, which have surged during the pandemic.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.