French startup will take to take people to space in a balloon. Here's how
Space is a dream for many, the prospect of travelling to the stars is a fantasy. When you imagine that amazing journey what comes to your mind? A high-tech rocket, and you strapped into a huge space suit? Not to burst your bubble, but a French startup called Space Perspective is developing a luxury tourism experience that will take passengers to the edge of space aboard a giant balloon.
As per space.com, the France-based startup called Zephalto has partnered with the French space agency the Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES), for this "high-altitude stratospheric balloon flights."
The huge balloon would reportedly be filled with hydrogen or helium and will ascend around 25 kilometres (or 15.5 miles) high into the atmosphere and will offer passengers a "unique view" of the world below.
As per a Bloomberg report, while the flights are scheduled to begin by 2025, the company has started booking reservations for an $11,000 (€120,000) deposit.
The balloon has enough space to carry six passengers and two pilots and will liftoff from the French spaceport as per space.com.
However, the company hopes to expand its access worldwide and is planning to expand its access worldwide by establishing spaceports on different continents.
The company reportedly is aiming to make its space tourism experience available to a wider audience and become a global player in the industry and even has a global map on its website featuring "next opening" pins for its spaceports located in populated areas around the world.
The company plans to offer the experience at $132,000 per person (or €120,000), to "eat lunch at the edge of space," wherein it will offer passengers "fine French cuisine," which means it'll offer a "Michelin-star calibre dining experience with a window-seat view of the cosmos."
On top of that, there will be Wi-Fi which the passengers can use to post their space pics before even landing on the Earth.
The flight will consist of three parts, with the first part being a one-and-a-half-hour ascent to an altitude of 25 kilometres. The second part of the flight will be three hours long and will include wining, dining, and sightseeing for passengers to enjoy the breathtaking view. The final part of the flight will be an hour-and-a-half-long descent back to Earth.
Space Perspective believes that its experience will appeal to wealthy travellers who are looking for a unique and unforgettable adventure. The company sees its balloon-based approach as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to rocket-based space tourism.
To ensure the safety of its passengers, Space Perspective is working closely with regulatory agencies and aerospace experts to design and test the spacecraft and its systems. The company's management team includes experienced professionals from the aerospace industry, including former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.
Space Perspective faces competition from other companies, such as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, that are also developing space tourism experiences. However, the company believes that its balloon-based approach and focus on luxury will set it apart in the market.
Zephalto has conducted three piloted test flights of its stratospheric balloon as part of its development process. However, none of these test flights has reached the altitude that the company plans to take regular passengers. Before the company can begin operating commercially, it needs to obtain certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a commercial airliner. But once it receives certification, the company plans to operate up to 60 flights per year.