War between two Spanish space balloon companies

Capitalism in space: A legal battle is developing between two different Spanish high altitude space balloon companies, one that came first, and a second that is being backed by a venture capitalist who had previously worked at the first.

Jose Mariano Lopez Urdiales, an MIT-trained aeronautics engineer who founded Zero 2 Infinity 11 years ago, says Kemel Kharbachi, the now CEO of EOS X Space, worked closely with the company to raise a €1m investment for Zero 2 Infinity. But the funding deal never happened.

Instead, Kharbachi, whose previous experience has focused on tourism and catering, has emerged to build his own rival space balloon business.

It does appear, from the details outlined in the article, that Kharbachi essentially stole the concept and designs from Zero 2 Infinity in order to form his own company.

As these Spanish companies fight it out, a third company in America, Space Perspectives, hopes to begin flying tourists on its stratospheric balloon, dubbed Neptune, by ’24.

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.