Want to cross a space trip with a hot air balloon off your bucket list? It will be possible from next year. The American Space Perspectives and the French Zephalto offer commercial ‘space travel’ by hot air balloon.
Zephalto, founded in 2016, inflates a balloon of 100 meters long and with a diameter of 70 meters full of helium and thus flies up to about 25 kilometers in the air. You can enjoy the same breathtaking view as that of an astronaut, the initiators promise.
According to aerospace engineer and Zephalto founder Vincent Farret d’Astiès, you can observe the curvature of the earth at that height. ,,That can be very emotional.” That is why it is possible to talk to a psychologist beforehand.
The balloon carries six passengers and two pilots and is equipped with every luxury. ‘Michelin star quality’ food is offered on board and Wi-Fi is available. During the trip it will be explained what there is to see. The total journey takes six hours, with take-off and descent taking half the time. Travelers don’t have to worry about gravity, because according to Farret d’Astiès it just stays there.
The hot air balloons fly up to the stratosphere. That is one of the four layers that make up the atmosphere. Space begins where air ends. Opinions differ per country and organization on the exact height at which space begins. For example, the American Nasa thinks that space begins at an altitude of 80 kilometers.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, which operates from Switzerland, to which the Royal Dutch Aeronautical Association is also affiliated, states that space begins at an altitude of 100 kilometers. According to those definitions, you do not actually fly into space with the hot air balloons.
Tourists who book a flight are guaranteed to come home with unique holiday photos. Only the price tag is not for everyone. At Space Perspectives, a flight with the Neptune One hot air balloon from 2024 will cost approximately 114,000 euros. You will fly higher, namely up to 30 kilometers. You can go to Zephalto from 2025 and pay approximately 120,000 euros.
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