Science & Tech

You can now ride a balloon to the edge of space for $200,000

What Happens to Your Body When You Spend One Year in Space?

People who dreamed of taking a trip to the edge of space now have the opportunity to do so - by paying $200,000 to ride a balloon.

HALO Space, a Madrid-based space tourism company, had their first successful test flight of the balloon last week, which floated 37 kilometres into the stratosphere.

The balloon prototype didn't have anybody on it and was in the sky for 4 hours and 10 minutes before safely landing in a designated area.

Halo Space has planned to offer its "zero emission" commercial flights aboard a fashionable circular capsule attached to an inflated balloon starting in 2029.

From that time onward, it will carry 3,000 passengers on 400 trips annually.

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The test flight kicked off at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) headquarters in Hyderabad, India, and met all the expectations.

The capsule will carry eight passengers plus one pilot. It also has panoramic windows that give 360-degree views of Earth while at an altitude of up to 40 kilometres.

People will be able to see the "curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space" for around four and six hours.

Halo Space also claimed the balloon doesn't leave "a carbon footprint" behind.

"Our space balloons use helium gas to fly, instead of a combustion engine. It's a simple and safe way to travel without leaving behind a carbon footprint," HALO's website reads.

A second test flight is planned for 2023 in Seville, Spain, where HALO will test steering the aircraft in descent and landing using a parafoil.

"Our goal is to successfully launch our flight capsule, reaching an altitude of 35 km before descending, and finally landing and recovering the prototype," said Alberto Catillo, an aerospace engineer and CTO of HALO.

After the trials are completed successfully, the company will begin commercial trips. They also plan to have flight bases in four undisclosed continents.

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