World View, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has named retired NASA astronaut Ron Garan as chief pilot for current robotic flight operations and upcoming human spaceflights via balloon. A highly decorated fighter pilot, test pilot and astronaut who traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of Earth, Garan will be responsible for the safe and successful completion of all flight operations, including uncrewed robotic launches and passenger flights to the edge of space.
"I am thrilled to join a team that embraces the same entrepreneurial spirit that launched the aviation industry and understands that true innovation is not just doing something that already exists better, but doing something completely new that revolutionizes or creates industries," said Garan. "In addition to bringing people to the edge of space for a transformative experience, World View is currently conducting an unprecedented frequency of commercial payload flights to the stratosphere and I'm excited to be on board for this important mission."
Click here to read Ron's blog post on Fragile Oasis.
World View CEO and co-founder Jane Poynter said, "World View mirrors Ron's passions for not only aviation, but also humanitarian efforts. Together, we'll continue to pursue our company's mission of helping humanity through our technology, such as supporting disaster recovery operations."
Currently flying payloads for research, weather and more, World View is opening up unprecedented access to the stratosphere. The company's proprietary balloon technology is used as a satellite orbiting the planet or hovering over a single location for many months, allowing for a myriad of research and commercial applications including, but not limited to:
- Weather and climate modeling
- Research such as astronomy, solar physics and atmospheric science
- Earth observations
- First Response support
- Early forest fire detection
- Agriculture remote sensing
Garan will also work with World View to use innovative flight technology to fly the first passengers to the edge of space, achieving a milestone in spaceflight. Additionally, World View will be jumpstarting the high altitude travel industry and changing voyager's perspective about Earth. Voyagers will be able to experience the paradigm shifting view of the curvature of Earth set against the blackness of space.
Garan continued, "Ever since my first journey to space, I've felt a call to action to help spread a unique perspective of our home, this place we call Earth."
Garan's extensive career includes time as an F-16 instructor pilot at the United States Air Force Fighter Weapons School (U.S. Air Force's Top Gun School) and years serving as an experimental test pilot. Garan was selected as a pilot by NASA in July 2000. During his NASA career, Garan flew on both the U.S. Space Shuttle under the leadership of World View Director of Flight Operations, Mark Kelly, and with the Russians aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.