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New Options for Space Tourism

In just three to four years, people may get the chance to visit space in a balloon. The name of this innovative new vehicle is Bloon, and unlike Virgin Galactic’s competing space tourism aircraft—SpaceShipTwo, which was unveiled to the public in 2009—Bloon will offer longer-lasting trips at cheaper prices. A trip on Bloon will cost $156,000 per person, compared to the $200,000 tickets for SpaceShipTwo. Bloon, however, will only reach 22 miles above sea level, while SpaceShipTwo can reach up to 62 miles.

After working for Boeing and the European Space Agency, Bloon’s founder and CEO Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales came up with this idea many years ago. His company, zero2infinity, has just received their first round of funding from one of Spain’s most prominent banks.

“The first people who described the earth as a blue ball were not in rockets. They were flying in balloons,” says Lopez-Urdiales. “A balloon stays for a longer time than a ballistic parabola. A suborbital vehicle is limited by the laws of ballistics and only lasts a few minutes. It can only last so long where the sky is black and the view is beautiful.”

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