Forget about rockets because a Spanish startup company will be sending tourists soon on a trip to space using a hot air balloon. Zero 2 Infinity plans to float tourists some 130,000 feet above the Earth's surface using a helium balloon that measures 420 feet in diameter.
Zero 2 Infinity was founded in 2009 by Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales. Setting off from the south of Spain in Andalucia, the trip is estimated to last for six hours, wherein the ascent will take three hours. Two hours will be spent floating in space, and one hour for the descent, MailOnline reported.
But most notable of all is that they offer cheaper trips to space than Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezo's Blue Origin at only $132,483.
Joining the Race of Space Tourism
SpaceX and Blue Origin are just two companies that aim to venture into space tourism and have made major headway into the market. But neither of the two has succeeded yet, and so other companies are entering the race like the Zero 2 Infinity.
The Spanish startup was first inspired by the idea when Lopez-Urdiales had been helping his astrophysicist father to float helium balloons to the threshold of space, according to Sifted.
The company conducted its first test in 2012 by sending a humanoid inside the capsule attached to a balloon and let it float in the air. After five years, they have already deployed their first prototype called Bloostar that has a two-stage craft that consists of a balloon and rocket.
Business Insider reported that the 40 km flight will give the passengers a chance to experience the "overview effect," where they will see the blackness of space, the roundness of Earth, and its blue color even without entering the space.
Meanwhile, for the descent of the capsule, it will be detached from the helium balloon and will land with a large parachute, Lopex-Urdiales told El Economista. He added that the balloon also does not make any noise or emit carbon dioxide upon ascending, nor does it have any risk of exploding.
Zero 2 Infinity further conducted another test in 2017, and this year, the firm begin unmanned test flights and hopes to sell tickets soon.
Other Space Tourism Concepts
There are other space tourism ideas that aim to enter the space itself at high altitudes soon. But it was indeed a momentous moment when businessman Dennis Tito was launched by Space Adventures to the International Space Station (ISS) for eight days.
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic also aims to enter space tourism, being the first space tourism company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019.
But Elon Musk's SpaceX aims further by getting humans to Mars in the next few years and eventually establish colonies on the red planet.
Check out more news and information on Space Tourism on Science Times.