Stratoflight, in partnership with Expleo, are developing a stratospheric transport system for “space” tourism which they are presenting at the 73e edition of the International Astronautical Congress, which is currently being held in Paris. One more stratospheric capsule and balloon project, will you say… except that the capsule in question will have a balcony that will offer a unique view of the Earth and space.
The start-upstart-up French New Space companies are not lacking in ideas. Among all the known stratospheric balloon projects in development around the world for the “space” tourism market, that of Stratoflight, in partnership with Expleo, stands out. Indeed, unlike all the other projects, Stratoflight and Expleo are betting on technology to develop a capsule equipped with an extravehicular platform which, like a balconybalcony, will allow travelers to go out into space! A pressure suit and a small life support unit will be needed for each passenger, but this idea looks very appealing.
A capsule with a balcony to see the Earth from the stratosphere
The idea of the two partners is to design a capsule 8 meters long, 4 meters wide and 3 meters high, capable of accommodating six people including two pilots. The cockpit, made of biosourced, recycled or recyclable materials, will be able, with its aerodynamic shape with both taut and curved lines, to fly under sail at speeds of up to 140 km/h for the return to the ground. The descent and return to dry land will take place under a piloted paraglider-type wing.
To join the stratospherestratosphere and fly at an altitude of more or less 35 kilometers, the capsule will use a balloon inflated with carbon-free hydrogen. This balloon is based on the zero-pressure balloon technology used for several years by multiple space agencies, including Cnes and the NasaNasafor scientific flights.
Introducing Stratoflight, a capsule with a balcony capable of accommodating six people. © Stratoflight-Expleo
Note that on the occasion of the 73e edition of the International Congress ofastronauticsastronauticswhich is currently being held in Paris, Stratoflight and Expleo unveil and present a 1/6 reproductione of the capsule on stand F6/G7 at Cnes.
Less expensive and more ecological than planes and suborbital launchers, stratospheric balloons fly much lower (25 to 35 km, compared to 80 to more than 100 km). But if they do not allow you to obtain the famous wings of astronauts, stratospheric balloon travel is quite comparable to air travel, even if it does not allow you to float in space for a short time. From the stratosphere, it is possible to see the curvature of the Earth, the starsstars and the SunSun get up or go to bed.
If this project sees the light of day and becomes operational, there is little doubt that it should become a commercial success because the attraction of “space” tourist flights comes less from the brief incursion into space than from the spectacle of the Earth. Seen from above. And the view of the Earth or space from a balcony or an external platform will always be more attractive than wide WindowsWindows panoramic.
Reservations will begin in early 2023 for the first flights in 2025.