World View balloon blast did $200,000 in damage to Pima County-owned building

World View’s Voyager capsule would rise into the stratosphere at the end of a high-altitude balloon, with a parafoil used to aid in its descent. /World View Enterprises illustration

By Murphy Woodhouse | Arizona Daily Star

An investigation into a December balloon explosion at the World View Enterprises launch pad near the Tucson airport is underway, with a report with recommendations expected in the “near future,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

His comments came amid a discussion spurred by questions and concerns from Supervisor Ally Miller, who has been a critic of the county’s deal with World View. Among other things, Miller was hoping to get information on the extent of the damage, injuries and possible violations of state and federal laws.

Related: Goldwater Institute case: Lawsuit over Pima County’s space balloon deal moves ahead

Huckelberry, who recently met with company representatives, described damage to the building as “superficial.” The facility’s insurer has cut a check for $200,000 in repairs.

“The building will be in its original condition at no cost to Pima County,” he said.

“It is a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed by this violent explosion,” Miller wrote in a memo regarding the agenda item. “It could have been far worse.”

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