A high-altitude balloon test vehicle piloted by Tucson-based World View Enterprises crashed in a controlled accident near the Rincon Mountains east of the city, the company said.
No injuries were reported.
The unmanned flight took off on a pre-approved flight path from company headquarters and the launch pad south of Tucson International Airport and crashed around 10:30 a.m. according to flight data confirmed by the company. .
World View has been performing unmanned stratospheric balloon missions from its Tucson site and other sites for research and commercial customers since 2014, logging more than 100 missions.
The company announced plans on Monday to begin offering $50,000 sightseeing flights aboard special manned capsules by 2024.
In a prepared statement, World View CEO and President Ryan Hartman said the company launched the flight on Wednesday to test a new component used only in the remote sensing system and was not part of the activity. of recently announced space tourism.
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Hartman said the flight ended earlier than planned and the balloon was lowered with a parafoil, a type of steerable parachute “as standard practice”.
“This was the first time the new system was evaluated, which proved successful for launch and climb tests, but not for long-duration flight,” Hartman said, adding that comments of the test flight will provide valuable data for future development.
“The flight ended earlier than expected but there was no balloon crash. It was the normal end of a flight where the balloon fell on a parafoil as standard practice.
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