Another high altitude balloon company enters the space tourism market

Capitalism in space: Another high altitude balloon company, this time from Spain, is now vying for the space tourism market.

EOS-X Space, a Spanish startup, wants to take 10,000 people to the frontier of space within the next 10 years. With EOS-X Space, the journeys won’t be in rockets or ultrasonic planes. They’ll instead take place in a pressurized capsule propelled by a balloon that will rise to an altitude of up to 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles.

This means space tourists won’t have to wear a suit for the duration of the trip, nor will they have to do any physical preparation. Depending on the weather, each trip is set to last four or five hours.

They are targeting the same market as the American company Space Perspectives, which hopes to begin flying tourists on its stratospheric balloon, dubbed Neptune, by ’24.

Members-only resort club teams up with Space Perspective for stratospheric balloon rides

Capitalism in space: Space Perspectives, which hopes to fly commercial tourist balloon flights to the stratosphere has teamed up with the members-only resort club Exclusive Resorts for future flights.

Space Perspective is partnering with the members-only vacation club Exclusive Resorts, which will become the first privately chartered travel group to fly aboard Spaceship Neptune, a pressurized capsule carried by a massive balloon, representatives of both outfits announced Wednesday (Sept. 16).

“The club has always sought ways to give members once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see and explore the world in transformational, meaningful ways,” Exclusive Resorts CEO James Henderson said in a statement. “Our partnership with Space Perspective will offer our members a unique view of our planet that only a few people have ever had the opportunity to experience.”

No ticket price has yet been announced. They hope to do the first commercial flights by 2024.

World View launches first balloon flight since explosion, raises $26.5 million

Capitalism in space: World View today launched its first Stratollite balloon flight since one exploded on December 19 as it was being prepared for launch.

The flight was commissioned by the NASA Flight Opportunities program office for two principal customers, the NASA Ames Research Center and Space Environment Technologies, both of which are studying radiation detection and its energy levels at different altitudes. The balloon vehicle is expected to gather data and stay aloft for less than 24 hours, depending on winds and landing conditions, a World View spokesman said.

More important, the company announced that it had raised $26.5 million in investment capital. All told, it is estimated that the company has raised $48.5 million in three rounds of fund-raising.

Worldview tests subscale prototype of its balloon and capsule

The competition heats up: Worldview, the company planning to sell tickets for high-altitude tourist flights to the edge of space, successfully completed this weekend a test flight of a 10-percent scale prototype of its capsule and balloon.

The balloon reached an altitude just over 100,000 feet, just under 19 miles. The capsule then separated and landed safely using a parafoil. This success keeps them on schedule for their first commercial flights in 2017.

Two Eagles manned balloon breaks record

The privately funded Two Eagles manned balloon has set a new endurance record as it drifts parallel to the west coast.

The team is making good progress in its flight parallel to the west coast of the United States and is now approximately 400 miles west of the Mexican border. It is still expected the landing will occur tomorrow (Saturday) morning on the Baja peninsula in Mexico. Pilots Leonid Tiukhtyaev (two-kh-TIE-yev) and Troy Bradley and the Mission Control team will be very busy during the final hours of the flight using winds at different altitudes to steer the balloon to a safe landing in Baja.

Manned balloon approaches North America

In its effort to set a new record for the longest gas-filled balloon flight, the two-man Two Eagles flight has now almost crossed the Pacific and expects to reach the west coast of North America by Thursday evening.

The balloon’s speed, as expected, has slowed considerably as the balloon enters calmer winds associated with a high pressure system along the West Coast. At this writing the balloon is west of northern California, and the team meteorologist, Luc Truellmans, predicts the ridge will continue to pull the balloon north and then east into Canada.

Once they do reach North America they need only travel 100 miles more to set a new record.

Update: Because of weather shifting to the south.