Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Tencent looks to the final travel frontier
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (XNA) Nov 17, 2014

World View plans to launch suborbital spaceflights for $75,000 per seat in 2016.

The recent crash of a Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship has done little to quell individuals' desire for space travel nor the interest of Chinese investors.

The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed Oct 31 during a test flight near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. One pilot died and another was seriously hurt in the crash. The accident occurred shortly after another a rocket owned by another private space company,Orbital SciencesCorp, exploded after taking off in Virginia.

Jane Poynter, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tucson, Arizona-based World View Enterprises Inc, said in Beijing on Nov 7 that her company has received another round of investment, including from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

World View operates high-altitude balloons that the company calls "an accessible, affordable way to access nearspace".

Poynter said that David Wallerstein, senior executive vice-president and chairman of Tencent USA, has already met with one of World View's pilots and exchanged ideas on technology.

World View plans to launch suborbital spaceflights for $75,000 per seat in 2016.

Unlike other companies that send people into space with rockets, World View uses balloons and space capsules that carry passengers slowly to nearspace and then bring them down to Earth using huge parachutes.

Interest in space travel has accelerated in recent years. Arguably the two best-known projects are Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace, a privately held company in Mojave, California, that is developing similar trips on rocket-propelled vehicles, which it also plans to make affordable.

Both companies also have received investment from Internet giant Google Inc, which also has invested in unmanned cars, hot-air balloons and space mining.

Zhang Zhidong, co-founder of Tencent, said the company should follow Google in this type of venture investing.

Pony Ma, Tencent's chairman, once said that his childhood dream was to be an astronomer, after he had gazed through a friend's telescope.

"Although we are running a commercial enterprise, we are also pursuing technological progress and realizing something which used to only exist in the imagination," Ma said. "This is a dream."

More than 800 people have paid deposits to fly aboard the next Virgin Galactic spaceship, which will be transported to an altitude of about 13,700 meters before being released.

The spaceship is based on a prototype of the SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize a decade ago for being the first privately developed manned spacecraft to fly in space.

The space travel industry is years away from having a commercial impact, so Tencent's investment is a long-term plan, Derek Scissors, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told China Daily.

"It's more likely that Tencent, like other Chinese companies, simply wants a high-profile American presence," he said. "Imagine being the first Chinese company associated with a successful space plane - the reward is not profit," Scissors said.

"I doubt there will be much American interest beyond the current business interest in attracting Chinese funding," said Scissors. "This is not sensitive technology or a sector that will draw political attention."

Tencent's overseas investments are positive both for the tourism industry and business cooperation, said Bai Jie, visiting fellow on Freeman Chair China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

President Xi Jinping said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting that Chinese overseas investment would reach $1.25 trillion in 10 years and that the number of Chinese overseas visitors would rise to more than 500 million in five years.

Sheng Yang in Washington and Reuters contributed to this story.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
World View Enterprises
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Virgin Galactic could resume test flights in six months
London, UK (AFP) Nov 08, 2014
Virgin Galactic could resume test flights with a new spaceship within six months, the company said Friday, a week after the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo in the Californian desert. The United States' National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which has called into question Virgin chief Richard Branson's dream of tourist flights to the edge of space. "It's possi ... read more

After Mars, India space chief aims for the moon

China examines the three stages of lunar test run

China gears up for lunar mission after round-trip success

NASA's LRO Spacecraft Captures Images of LADEE's Impact Crater

Warmth and flowing water on early Mars were episodic

Next NASA Mars Mission Reaches Milestone

Mars, too, has macroweather

Comet lander 'working well', but may be on slope

Tencent looks to the final travel frontier

ESA Commissions Airbus As contractor For Orion Service Module

Study Investigates How Men and Women Adapt Differently to Spaceflight

S3 concludes first phase of drop-tests

China publishes Earth, Moon photos taken by lunar orbiter

China plans to launch about 120 applied satellites

Mars probe to debut at upcoming air show

China to build global quantum communication network in 2030

Europe's 3D printer set for ISS

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Continue System Advancements

Astronaut turned Twitter star, Reid Wiseman, back on Earth

Three-man multinational space crew returns to Earth

Time-lapse video shows Orion's move to Cape Canaveral launch pad

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

SpaceX chief Musk confirms Internet satellite plan

Orbital recommits to NASA Commercial program and Antares

Follow the Dust to Find Planets

NASA's TESS mission cleared for next development phase

ADS primes ESA's CHEOPS to detect and classify exoplanets

NASA's TESS Mission Cleared for Next Development Phase

Shaking the topological cocktail of success

Drexel Engineers Improve Strength, Flexibility of Atom-Thick Films

Creating Bright X-Ray Pulses in the Laser Lab

New Process Isolates Promising Material

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.