Founder, C0-CEO & Chief Experience Officer
Jane is co-founder and founding-CEO of World View Enterprises Inc., which is pioneering innovative flight technologies that offer unique perspectives of Earth from the edge of space. The Silicon Valley-backed company has developed a new class of vehicle using controlled high-altitude balloon systems called Stratollites. They offer enterprise and government agencies low-cost, long-duration, persistent high-altitude flight, unavailable by any other means. Stratollite applications include: communications in remote locations to connect the remaining 4-billiion people without reliable connectivity; remote sensing applications that DARPA has called “game changing”; weather insights that can increase tornado predictions from minutes to hours; and many research applications. The Stratollite was featured on the cover of the most widely read aerospace journal, Aerospace America. World View’s headquarters form the world’s first dedicated stratospheric flight facility, which was built by Pima County, the City of Tucson and the State of Arizona for $16 million after a multi-state competition. Working with Pima County, World View founded and operates Spaceport Tucson.
Poynter was formerly co-founder, Chairman, and President of Paragon Space Development Corporation, specializing in life support and thermal control in extreme environments. The company has life-support technologies on spacecraft including the International Space Station (ISS), Lockheed’s Orion space capsule, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser. She has a patent for the world’s first self-sustaining habitats that flew on multiple space missions including: the U.S. Space Shuttle for seven days; the Russian Mir Space Station for two four-month missions; and, the ISS for 16 months, which was the first commercial payload on ISS. The habitat produced the first animals to ever complete its lifecycles in space, and ultimately completing many life cycles. The discoveries during these missions have great relevance to our understanding of long duration crewed space missions, and were published in numerous scientific papers including an edition of Space Biology dedicated to the results.
During her twenty-year tenure at Paragon, the company received numerous innovation awards from NASA as well as the Governor of Arizona, and Popular Science. Technologies included the first dive suit that entirely isolates a diver from the surrounding water, providing protection from chemical or biological agents; a passive system for purifying urine and other waste water into drinking water for long-duration spaceflight and is set to become an ISS water purification system; a life support system for sealed safe havens for miners during a mining accident; and the first new spacesuit built and flown by the U.S. in 40 years for StratEx. StratEx was a project that launched Google Executive, Alan Eustace, to the edge of space under a helium balloon for his record-breaking flight in 2014. He safely space dived back to earth from over 135,000 feet. A documentary about the extraordinary engineering and human feat called 14 minutes from Earth was published in 2016.
Jane was also a member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a member of the original crew who lived for two years inside the sealed, self-sustaining habitat, the first prototype space base built and operated. She led the design and operation of the world’s first enclosed agriculture system, providing food, oxygen and drinking water for the eight-member crew. Her TED talk on the seminal project and its relevance to global sustainability has been viewed over one million times. She authored the definitive work on Biosphere 2, The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2. She authored her second book, Champions for Change: Athletes Making A World of Difference, with support from the United Nations, which became a successful middle school STEM program.
Poynter has received multiple awards including from the National Association of Female Executives. She has given keynote speeches at events around the world, and hosted and been interviewed on all forms of media, including for a show filmed in zero gravity during parabolic airplane flights.