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 Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line
Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

A truly awesome adventure
Take a holiday... into space!
Ever wanted to see the world from the perspective of an astronaut? Well, flights into space above the Canaries could be available from 2017 if a Catalan company gets the go ahead for its plans for a unique travel experience.

The Earth from a different perspective – a truly awesome adventure
The Earth from a different perspective – a truly awesome adventure

26.06.2015 - The company Zero2infinity announced that it hopes to organise space trips in a balloon which will take travellers 36 kilometres up, into the far reaches of the atmosphere - three times higher than planes get to go when cruising at altitude. 

Company director José Manuel López made the announcement at an innovation event in Malaga and spoke at length about the prospect of space flights above the Canaries, explaining that "at this level you can admire the blue globe, see the curvature of the Earth and marvel at the planet enveloped in night and day, surrounded by a dark sky full of brilliant stars.”  He explained that the balloons will be equipped with a pressurised cabin and giant window so passengers can take in the spectacular view of the earth.  "You are still high enough that you are above 99 per cent of the Earth's atmosphere and although you don't experience weightlessness, you are able to see something that most humans don't – the ‘thin blue line’ of the planet's atmosphere.  Passengers will also be able to see the Earth in the blackness of space, as well as watch the sun rise over the planet’s curvature."  Lopez said, revealing that unmanned tests are currently being carried out and the first crewed balloon is expected to be launched next year.

Many people would love the opportunity to experience the world from that perspective and it may soon be possible - for a price of around €110,000 which, although daunting for most, is considerably more affordable than the tens of millions paid by privileged space tourists in recent years.

Zero2infinity is based in Córdoba due to its geographical and meteorological conditions, where tests and promotional flights are currently being run, but the company is considering the Canary Islands as a possible second location due to the similar conditions and high-number of wealthy visitors.  Unsurprisingly, many are excited by the prospect of flying to the Earth’s atmosphere and by Zero2infinity’s pledge that the trips will be “an entirely new relationship with your home planet, and a profound experience.  So how does it work? 

As with the numerous unmanned flights that have already occurred, the trip will take place in a pressurised cabin which is lifted by a long balloon for about an hour until it reaches an altitude of 36 kilometres.  The balloon then cruises for two to three hours before descending to solid ground, which takes another hour.  Therefore, for a €110,000 ticket to space and back you enjoy about five hours in the majestic wonder of the Universe. 

If all is well after the intended manned-flight next year, the company hopes to take passengers up from 2017.  The trip will not require a change of clothes and the capsule has the capacity for four travellers and two staff members on comfortable seating.

“Tourists are always looking for new experiences and exciting places to explore”, López added.  “On Earth there are no longer many frontiers left to discover, but to journey into space would be an indescribable experience which only a few have ever known.”

The former aeronautical engineer clearly has a passion for travel that’s as limitless as his vision. 

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The Earth from a different perspective – a truly awesome adventure 
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