Spanish Company Will Send Tourists To Space On Helium Balloons
A Spanish company, Zero 2 Infinity, is offering tourists trips to the threshold of space to view Earth from above, all from the comfort of a small capsule, Bloon.
Up to four passengers will be able to see our blue planet from up above throughout the five-hour journey, hanging out at a maximum altitude of 25 miles (40km) above ground. To give some perspective, commercial flights fly approximately six miles (10 km) above ground.
How the capsule gets to space
Zero 2 Infinity's Bloon capsule lifts up from one of the company's launch sites — most likely from its home country, Spain, but the details are still being hashed out — thanks to a gigantic helium balloon. Think, Loon's internet balloons.
By not using expensive rockets and all the tech behind them, the Spanish company is able to keep the cost of the trip down to just over $130,000 per passenger, reports Science Times.
Two pilots will be on board to navigate the entire system. The journey sounds smooth, as the pod detaches itself from the balloon and deploys a parafoil parachute to enjoy its gentle hour-long descent back to Earth, offering a different perspective of our planet along the way, as well as a chance to see just how black space is.
Depending on wind conditions, the pod will land safely within a 186 miles (300km) range from the launch site, with company officials at-the-ready to pick everyone and everything up.
In 2012, Zero 2 Infinity carried out tests of the pod with a humanoid robot inside, launching it up to 22 miles (36km) high, and in 2017 another test was carried out on another prototype up to 24 miles (40km) up in the air.
No exact details of when the once-in-a-lifetime trips will be made available to the public have been disclosed. However, professionals will start tests later this year, reported Business Insider.
Zero 2 Infinity is headed by Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales, who has been working on launching helium balloons to the borders of space for decades. Lopez-Urdiales appears to be a decent contender for the likes of Elon Musk at SpaceX and Richard Branson at Virgin Galactic.
Let's see who sends tourists up above first, and in the meantime, we encourage Zero 2 Infinity by saying "Vamos!", or, Let's Go!