Space tourism in a hot air balloon. How is this possible?

(ORDO NEWS) — In the future, people will no longer be able to brag about their trips to different countries of the world to their friends. The tourism sector is constantly developing and in the next few years, tourist flights into space will become available to people. It should be noted that the term “space tourism” should not be understood as flights to distant planets. In the near future, aerospace companies will only be able to provide beautiful views of the planet Earth from a height of up to 100 kilometers. But even this service will cost several thousand dollars per passenger, so the pleasure will not come cheap. Recently, the American company Space Perspective announced that it will start selling tickets for flights in Earth’s orbit using a hot air balloon in 2021. But how exactly will the flight be carried out and how many thousands of dollars will it cost?

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Into space in a hot air balloon

Ars Technica recently spoke about the ambitious plans of Space Perspective. The organization is headquartered in Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It recently raised an investment of $ 7 million, thanks to which it will be able to conduct a test flight of its Neptune spacecraft in 2021. Inside it there is room for one pilot and eight passengers who can climb to an altitude of about 30 kilometers and spend about two hours there. The return descent will also take about two hours, so people will be able to enjoy the views of our planet.

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A balloon with a diameter of a football field will be used to climb to a great height. And the size of the Neptune ship will be 5 meters across. It is expected that the structure will be able to take off at least once a week. In this case, only the balloon will be subject to replacement. And the ship itself, most likely, will simply be washed and checked for performance. After that, it will be possible to send a new group of people to tourism.

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Space tourism cost

Ticket sales will begin in 2021, but the actual flights are only scheduled for 2024. The exact cost of flying Space Perspective is unknown, but co-founder Jane Poynter says people need to target $ 125,000 per passenger. At the current exchange rate, this is approximately 9.5 million rubles. It turns out that a few hours of flight above the Earth costs almost like a two-room apartment in Moscow.

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But it is still cheaper than space tourism services from other companies. At the moment, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are actively developing space tourism. Commercial flights have not yet begun, but capable of flying ships have already been created. Virgin Galactic plans to use the SpaceShipTwo aircraft, which is capable of ascending about 90 kilometers above Earth. And Blue Origin is developing a New Shepard rocket that can launch a capsule carrying tourists to an altitude of 105 kilometers. Both companies want to charge roughly $ 300,000 for a few minutes of zero gravity and amazing views from the window. Space Perspective is clearly cheaper.

What is interesting about space tourism?

But it’s worth noting that Space Perspective services can only be called space tourism at a stretch. The Neptune spacecraft being developed will only be able to rise to a height of 30 kilometers, that is, in the stratosphere. At this altitude, meteorological balloons usually fly, which are designed to study the stratosphere. And space begins at an altitude of 100 kilometers, outside the so-called “Karman line”. The passengers of the Neptune ship will, of course, enjoy a beautiful view of our planet. But they will not be able to experience zero gravity like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin clients.

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And finally, the question remains – how is Space Perspective going to raise the ship to a height of 30 kilometers? From a technical point of view, she shouldn’t have a problem with that. The fact is that the company is not going to use something like an ordinary balloon, which can rise to an altitude of about 18 kilometers. Passengers will take to the air on a kind of stratospheric balloon – a device designed to fly into the stratosphere.

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