In 2016, tourists will fly to space on balloons

World View announced that is has successfully completed an unmanned test of a scaled-down version of its balloon spaceflight system, reaching altitudes of more than 20 miles (32 kilometers)

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World View hopes to launch its first commercial flights by the end of 2016, promising passengers a two-hour "sailing-like experience" inside a pressurized capsule, complete with in-flight Internet access and even cocktails

All photos: Splash/All Over Press

The five-hour test flight launched from Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico on June 18, with a 10-percent scale prototype of World View's balloon spaceflight system floating to an altitude of 120,000 feet, nearly 23 miles (37 km) off the ground

All photos: Splash/All Over Press

When the balloon drifted back down to an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters), the flight system then relied on a parafoil (a parachute-like wing) to bring it back to the ground

All photos: Splash/All Over Press

World View also hopes to attract scientific and commercial missions

All photos: Splash/All Over Press

The new technology could be used for projects in communications, surveillance, remote sensing, first response and micro-sat payload delivery

All photos: Splash/All Over Press