Video Shows World View Explosion Sending Flames Into The Sky

World View balloon explosion

A video obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent shows flames shooting into the sky as a World View balloon filled with hydrogen exploded on Tuesday. The explosion rocked buildings up to one mile away.


World View promotes itself as a near-space tourism company providing trips to wealthy wannabe space travelers.

Employees at nearby defense industry businesses ran out of buildings believing that there was an attack of some kind.

World View issued the following statement: “Following the completion of a successful fill test on the launch pad, during the process of backing out of the full fill configuration, a significant balloon rupture occurred which was reportedly heard in the local area. We have reached out to reassure our immediate neighbors. There were no injuries and only superficial facility damage at the site. The flight system itself was unaffected.”

Pima County owns the facility and leases it to World View. As yet, the damage from the explosion and costs to taxpayers, if any, is yet unknown.

The World View facility was built on land that was intended to serve as a buffer zone for Raytheon. Raytheon has missiles stored in bunkers on its property.

World View’s explosion caused ceiling tiles to fall on Raytheon employees, according to sources.

According to sources, World View used hydrogen, a very volatile gas, in the balloon. Experts question the wisdom of using such a dangerous gas near a missile site as well as Davis Monthan Air Force base and Tucson International Airport.

In May, the Arizona Daily Independent (ADI) reported that Pima County purchased expensive furniture and equipment for World View along with the $15 million the County spent on building the the company’s headquarters and launchpad. Documents revealed “that taxpayers also purchased a tracking antenna for $90,845, a weather station for $148,936, window coverings for $28,015, systems furniture for $190,339, manufacturing specialty furniture for $109,150, and lockers for $10,337,” according to the ADI.

The County’s unusual arrangement with World View has resulted in a lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of Pima County Taxpayers.

“It should not surprise anyone that Chuck Huckelberry is able to find $15 million to build the World View facility which includes close to a million dollars of lavish furnishings and decorations for his cronies, yet he is never able to find monies for the failing roads,” Supervisor Ally Miller told the ADI at the time.

Related articles:

FAA Grants Certificate Of Waiver For World View Inaugural Launch

Balloon Leak Grounds World View KFC Publicity Stunt

Pima County Leaders Went To Great Lengths To Send KFC Into Stratosphere With World View

Pima County Taxpayers Spent Over $800,000 On World View Equipment, Furnishings

Pima County World View Spending Balloons Despite Court Ruling

About Arizona Daily Independent News Service 1956 Articles
Under the leadership of Arizona Daily Independent Editor In Chief Huey Freeman, our team of staff reporters work tirelessly to bring the latest, most accurate news to our readers.


  1. but this light show was ‘nothing’ to the SPACE-X light show of all time… wow – that was interesting – who knew the sky was so low

  2. The fire would have had to originate outside of the balloon. There had to have been a significant leak. There is not enough oxygen inside to get the correct stoichiometric ratio for ignition. There is a big stigma against hydrogen but it is heavily used as a lift gas in some segments of ballooning. You just have to use the proper safety measures with it.

    Otherwise it was a test where they actually put oxygen into the balloon as well so that they could see what would happen if they purposefully ignited it. Kind of stupid to do it in a location that is not more remote with such a large volume of hydrogen.

  3. When conducting experiments of balloons filled with Hydrogen gas, I noticed that the University of Nottingham used small balloons, whereas the not-so-geniuses at the Tucson space port used an enormous balloon filled with hydrogen gas. The latter test caused damage to Raytheon ceiling tiles, not to mention scaring the living daylights out of nearby residents and business owners. On the other hand, the U of Nottingham scientists scaled down their experiments considerably, causing no damage or fear to nearby businesses or residents. Get rid of World View and turn the property into a hot air balloon launching pad, as long as it is not in the pathway of commercial or military jets.

  4. Next Headline from the crack Journalists at the Red Star and our Investigative Reporters who are Super Amazing:
    “Economic Development is BOOMING on Aerospace Parkway”
    Sign me up to be next door to these clowns.

  5. so why did it ‘go boom’ static electricity? Like a bolt of lightening from the ground up – perhaps like the static that is built up with a helicopter blade whirling – wind over the balloon structure built up static – not being grounded well at the bottom end – a spark ignited the helium inside the balloon the pressure expanded the balloon quickly till it failed, the the explosion was already in progress when this occurred, much as the explosion the professor shows with hydrogen and oxygen mix – balloon goes ‘boom’ !!! Interesting – not however worth the Pima County wide price of admission.

    • stupid is natural – if it were not for stupid progress might well be quite limited, what is really dangerous is ‘stupidity with intent’ as in using this gas a lift gas…

  6. Meanwhile, President Trump is forcing you to take responsibility of your own money. It was so much easier back when Democrats spent my money for me. ?

  7. Well I for one am grateful that an experienced USA trained astronaut is on board to make sure World View operates in a safe environment. Mark Kelly and Gabby need to stop going after Gun owners and protect TIA and the Neighbors.

  8. $15 million here, $90,845 there. $148,936 for this, $28,015 for that $190,339. $109,150 to them and $10,337 to those other guys all with no bids needed. It’s my bet that for each of these sales the companies were required to make a donation to Mark Kelly’s campaign fund.

  9. $15MM would have gone a long way to repairing roads in the business growth corridor. It seems odd that Chuck and the crew have money to spend on this kind of largesse, but then claim they need more money and a gas tax to fix roads. We already know how that will turn out now don’t we? We don’t have a tax money shortage, what we have here is a lack of restraint, discipline and leadership.

    • On top of the cost for the Balloon Ride For Billionaires the county is going to widen the newly built Aerospace Parkway to 4 lanes. It was built in such haste to begin with it looks like it’s already falling apart.

    • Mark, This gem is up to $17 million. They spent $2.179 million on this launch pad. It is owned by the Pima County taxpayers. World View has an operating agreement. There were photos of several hydrogen trucks and helium trucks on this launch pad site. I have to believe that taxpayers have a huge liability especially given the reports that World View issued a statement describing this as a successful test. Does anyone know if this incident is being investigated by FAA or NTSB? Given this blow up, it makes me wonder if they are using hydrogen on the smaller payloads being launched down there. Yes-these monies could have been used for ROADS!

    • Mark, This Crony deal is up to $17 million. $2.179 Million for the launch pad, which is owned by Pima County Taxpayers. World View is licensed to operate it. News report showed several trucks labeled with hydrogen in close proximity. Think of the liability for taxpayers. Yes these monies SHOULD have been used for roads!

        • If I remember right that’s something like $104,000 a year to lease the vacant lot at 22nd and I-10 plus the 2 million dollar EPA cleanup.

  10. just standard operations here, nothing unusual here, Hydrogen explodes – just as expected – this is just a test – had this been an actual disaster the gondola would have been engulfed in the flames of the explosion – or maybe a passing car – or the device would have blown into the airport control tower then exploded.. thus becoming newsworthy – this fireball all standard stuff.. move along now – nothing here to see

  11. It’s commonly known that using hydrogen in this application is extremely volatile and dangerous. Criminal charges should be filed against World View for public endangerment. The company should be shut down immediately and the officers imprisoned until trial.

  12. Yea, what could go wrong. Hydrogen for God’s sake? WTF? Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The Hindenburg anyone? Yea, lets use hydrogen around a commercial airport and Tucson’s biggest employer… What could go wrong, right? Nice going Huck. Great job. Dumbass.

  13. Baby got a little gas….
    Get Babs Lawall to get on it like a hound after a political favor.
    They shud test at Precido Plaza next time…

  14. World View claims this to be a successful test. ? Huh? What would have occurred if they considered it to be a failure, dead bodies? Also, who in their right mind would pay these flunkies to send them up in a suicide mission? Pima County will never retrieve the Millions back that taxpayers had to fork out to this debucle. There is Pima County’s road money.

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