Friday, May 31, 2024

Spanish company plans to send tourists to space in helium balloons

You have probably already felt a desire to observe Earth from space. In addition to the images and videos that the agencies are sharing, you wanted to have the real opportunity to see the planet from another perspective – completely different from the ordinary.

To open the door of the space to anyone who wants to reach it, a Spanish company, the Zero 2 Infinity, intends to send tourists into space in a giant helium balloon. The company is offering tourists trips to the threshold of space to view the Earth from above, all from the comfort of a small pressurized capsule, Bloon. This could be a great alternative to the expensive rockets and all the technology behind them.

The entire trip would last for a suggestive six hours – ascent will take three hours, while two hours will be spent floating in space, and a further hour will be spent on the descent. The Bloon pressurized capsule is capable of sustaining human life (just like an airplane). Its internal space can accommodate two pilots and four passengers, who may be dressed in their usual clothes; they would not require special suits.

Spanish company plans to send tourists to space in helium balloons.
Bloon pod, a pressurized capsule capable of sustaining human life (just like an airplane). Credit: Zero 2 Infinity

The Bloon will fly up to an altitude of 40 km (25 miles) to allow passengers to experience the overview effect, allowing them to experience the blackness of space, the roundness of the Earth, and its blue color – all without actually entering space itself.

The journey sounds smooth as the pod detaches itself from the helium balloon and deploys a parafoil parachute to gently descend back to Earth. Depending on wind conditions, the capsule will land safely within a radius of 300 km (186 miles) from the launch site, where employees will be on hand to pick up everything.

There are still a few years ahead for tourists to be able to access this type of trip since the first step is to carry out test flights with professionals, which could foreseeably be carried out during this year. On the other hand, the company plans to soon start selling tickets for a price of just over $130,000 per passenger.

In 2012, the Spanish company carried out tests with a humanoid robot inside the capsule, launching it up to 36 km (22 miles) high. Again, in 2017, they performed another test by sending another prototype consisting of a balloon and a rocket to a height up to 40 km (25 miles).

Zero 2 Infinity’s Bloon capsule will rise from one of its launch sites, probably in Spain, but there are not many details on the subject yet. However, it is known that the company will carry out further tests later this year, reported Business Insider.

Last year we told you about a similar project by Space Perspective, which plans to fly passengers and research payloads to the edge of space in a giant high-performance balloon.