Jane Poynter

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Jane Poynter

Jane Poynter is an American aerospace executive, author, Biospherian, speaker and the co-founder and former CEO of World View Enterprises, a private near-space exploration and technology company headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. Poynter was also a founding member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a crew member from the original 2-year mission inside the materially closed ecological system.

Prior to World View, Poynter served as co-founder, Chairwoman and President of Paragon Space Development Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of hazardous environment life support equipment.

Business ventures[edit]

World View Enterprises[edit]

World View Enterprises, doing business as World View, is a private American near-space exploration and technology company headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, founded with the goal of increasing access to and the utilization of the stratosphere for scientific, commercial, and economic purposes.

World View was founded and incorporated in 2012 by a team of aerospace and life support veterans, including Biosphere 2 crew-members Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum, Dr. Alan Stern (the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. The company designs, manufactures and operates stratospheric flight technology for a variety of customers and applications. The company operates via two primary business segments: Stratollite un-crewed flight systems and Voyager human spaceflight systems.

The Stratollite[edit]

The Stratollite[1] is a remotely operated, navigable, un-crewed stratospheric flight vehicle designed and engineered to station-keep over customer-specified areas of interest for long periods of time (days, weeks, and months). The Stratollite uses proprietary altitude control technology to rise and lower in the stratosphere, harnessing the natural currents of varying stratospheric winds to provide point-to-point navigation and loitering. The Stratollite operates at altitudes up to 95,000 ft. (30km) with a payload capacity of 50kg and 250W of continuous power to payloads. The Stratollite is primarily used for applications including remote sensing, communications, and weather.[2]

Voyager Human Spaceflight Experience[edit]

The Voyager human spaceflight experience is under development with the goal of carrying private individuals to approximately 100,000ft (30.48km) above Earth inside a pressurized spacecraft lofted by a helium-filled high-altitude balloon. The flight vehicle will carry six passengers and two crew on an approximately five hour flight (from liftoff to touchdown). The flight experience is intended to give passengers a wide-angle and long-duration view of the curvature of the Earth against the blackness of space. The pressurized spacecraft is planned to be outfitted with a restroom, minibar, and communications capabilities for communicating with family and friends below in real-time.[3]

Paragon Space Development Corporation[edit]

Poynter was a founder of Paragon Space Development Corporation, which develops technologies for extreme environments (like outer space and under water). While inside Biosphere 2, she co-founded the firm with fellow biospherian, Taber MacCallum, whom she later married,[4] Grant Anderson, Paragon's President and CEO and several other aerospace engineers. In 2009 the National Association for Female Executives awarded Jane its Entrepreneur of the Year award.[5] Jane is named as co-inventor on a patented experiment [6] self-sustaining habitats flown on the International Space Station, the Russian Mir Space Station, and the U.S. Space Shuttle.

Inspiration Mars[edit]

Poynter was a developer of the crew and life-support systems[7] for the Inspiration Mars free-return mission to Mars planned for launch in January 2018. The two person spaceflight mission was originally to be a private, nonprofit venture[8] of 501 days duration which will allow a small human-carrying spacecraft to use the smallest possible amount of fuel to get it to Mars and back to Earth.[9] However, this plan proved unworkable without significant funding and assistance from NASA.[10]

The life support system is critical. "If anything goes wrong, the spacecraft should make its own way back to Earth — but with no possibility of any short-cuts home."[11]

Former ventures[edit]

Biosphere 2[edit]

Poynter was one of eight people who agreed to live in a sealed artificial world for two years from September 1991 to September 1993. Just twelve days into the mission, she was injured in a rice-threshing machine, and had to leave the Biosphere for medical treatment.[12] She was out for less than seven hours. The project came under media criticism after it was revealed that some spare parts were placed in the airlock with her when she went back in.

Poynter reported that low morale and psychological problems plagued the two-year mission.[13] The eight crew members eventually split into two factions of four who hated each other.

Other work[edit]

Poynter also worked with the World Bank on projects to mitigate global climate change and grow crops in drought-stricken Africa and Central America. She is President of Blue Marble Institute, a 501(c)(3) non profit dedicated to leadership in science, sustainability and exploration. She serves on the City of Tucson's Climate Change Committee.[14] Her second book, Champions for Change: Athletes Making A World of Difference is now a middle school program.[15]

She has appeared on television and radio shows, and has been interviewed for magazine and newspaper articles about Biosphere 2 and her work in space and the environment. She has been an invited speaker at events hosted by groups such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the US Environmental Protection Agency, TEDx, National Space Symposium, NASA, MIT, and Microsoft.


  • Poynter, Jane (2006). The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2. Basic Books. ISBN 978-1560257752.
  • Poynter, Jane (2009). Champions for Change : Athletes Making a World of Difference. Global Sports Alliance USA. ISBN 978-0615304793.


  1. ^ Eherington, Darrell (2016). "World View's 'stratollites' and new spaceport aim to change the business of space". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ Button, Keith (2017). "Satellite envy". Aerospace America. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  3. ^ Thompson, Kaylee (July 14, 2015). "Your New Ride To Space". Popular Science. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  4. ^ "US private sector hopes to send older couple to Mars". BBC News. 27 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Jane Poynter, Entrepreneur of the Year". Nafe.com. Retrieved 25 Oct 2012.
  6. ^ United States Patent 5,865,141 Autonomous Biological System (ABS)
  7. ^ Kaufman, Marc (27 February 2013). "Manned Mars Mission Announced by Dennis Tito Group". National Geographic News. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  8. ^ Belfiore, Michael (27 February 2013). "The Crazy Plan to Fly Two Humans to Mars in 2018". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  9. ^ Morring, Frank, Jr. (2013-03-04). "Serious Intent About 2018 Human Mars Mission". Aviation Week and Space Technology. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  10. ^ Grossman, Lisa (November 21, 2013). "Ambitious Mars joy-ride cannot succeed without NASA". New Scientist. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  11. ^ Connor, Steve (26 February 2013). "The millionaire Dennis Tito and his mission to Mars". The Independent. London. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  12. ^ Poynter 2006, p.144-6
  13. ^ Poynter 2006, ch.18
  14. ^ "Climate Change Committee". Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  15. ^ "Champions for Change". Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]