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High-tech balloon to offer space travel to the masses by 2013… for a price

Adventurous travellers will soon be able to take 22-mile-high flights into space if a Spanish entrepreneur’s lofty plans come to fruition. Jose Lopez-Urdiales’s space balloon – ‘the Bloon’ – will take budding astronauts to incredible heights in 2013. The specially designed balloon will rise a whopping 22 miles (36 kilometres) into the sky, which is three times higher than the cruising height of most passenger planes.

Passengers will have the best seat not-on-earth and will be treated to amazing views of the sun rising over the planet, the curvature of the earth and the infinite depth of space above them. But before you get excited, the five hour trip will cost a whopping £90,000 per person. A hefty price tag for such a short burst of fun, but, as Lopez-Urdiales is quick to point out, considerably cheaper than any of the current options for ordinary people wanting to travel into space.

Lopez-Urdiales says: “It’s not about the prestige; it’s the view from up high that people want to see. There will be many people who will want to go on the trip. It brings up a lot of feelings in people – that we are all connected. We believe that’s beneficial for the human experience.”

He added: “It will be an unforgettable experience. People will be able to see stars during the day, and the sun will look completely different. People will enjoy it because being that high reminds them they come from a planet, and are part of something much bigger.”

The initial ascent will take around an hour to reach maximum height, followed by a relaxing three hours floating in silence with the opportunity to see incredible views, before the balloon slowly drops back down to earth, which also takes an hour. Exact details of when and where the flight is to take place are still to be confirmed.