World View Enterprises successfully launched one of its stratospheric balloon vehicles with a payload for NASA from Spaceport Tucson on Thursday morning.
The company also announced a $ 26.5 million investment round led by a prominent investment company in Silicon Valley
The high-altitude mission on Thursday started at around 9:39 am from the spaceport, which landed at World View headquarters adjacent to the south of Tucson International Airport, the company said in a press release.
The flight was funded by the NASA Flight Opportunities program office for two key accounts, the NASA Ames Research Center and Space Environment Technologies, both of which investigate radiation detection and their energy levels at different altitudes.
The balloon vehicle is to collect data and remain in the air for less than 24 hours, depending on the winds and landing conditions, said a spokesman for the World View.
"These types of missions deliver e World Seek the opportunity to use our flight platform to support important scientific research that will benefit humanity on Earth," said Jane Poynter, Founder and CEO of World View.
World Views Balloon vehicle, called Stratollite, can bring small payloads to the stratosphere for a fraction of the cost of space launches for commercial and research applications, and one day plans to bring tourists into special capsules into space.
The stratollites are controlled in flight with a proprietary ballast system and landed under the control of a controllable parafoil, typically in remote areas.
The launch of Thursday was the fourth of Spaceport Tucson since an opening mission in October and the first since a grounded hydrogen-filled balloon exploded on December 1
The round of financing, which also included major investments by former investors Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners , follows earlier private equity rounds totaling $ 22 million
initially in the aerospace sector for Accel, which was an early stage investor in companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify.
Accel's Sameer Ghandi joins the Board of Directors of World View, the company said.