the day trip of a lifetime
preparation & launch phase
Preparation of the launch site and the Bloon vehicle (3 hours before the planned lift-off).
Boarding: approx. 30 minutes.
Final countdown and vertical lift-off.
We had breakfast and will be driven to the Bloon-Launch Base. The big helium balloon can be seen from far away and is moved back and forth by the warm Spanish wind. Still, everything is locked, what a sight!
As we arrive, we are led into the interior of the Bloon gondola, and one shows us our places. We sit down and feel that one feels very well in these seats! We are strapped with 3-point belts, and after 30 minutes we are four BLOON travellers alone with our two pilots. The hatch is closed, and we can watch the hustle and bustle on the launch site through huge windows. Wind speeds and temperatures are measured continuously, and we can see the technical data on flat screens.
We hear how the mission director gives the release signal and see on the monitors that the balloon is released. A particular vehicle follows the gondola behind the helium balloon until the balloon is vertically above us. Then there is a slight noise, and we are free and float slowly upwards!
Ascent Phase: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
We're listening: Nothing to hear! Except ourselves, who after a few minutes, begin to give words that describe the reality of the event. Completely noiseless we climb up. It is charming, the starting place slowly disappears below us, and at some point, it can hardly be distinguished from its surroundings.
We float upwards and wonder. The clouds are below us, and the sun shines very brightly, which is adjusted by anodising panes in the enormous windows of the BLOON gondola. Thus, we can see the different colours well, the white of the clouds, the blue of the sky — the green and brown of the areas below us, and also on the horizon. Slowly and steadily the horizon begins to bend, the sign badly that the earth has a spherical shape.
The BLOON brings us higher up. I look at the altimeter; we left 10,000 meters behind a few seconds ago, so we are now higher than average airliners on domestic flights. We notice that the colours are changing. The sky changes the most, from light blue to dark blue until it is almost black! What a sight!
After about 90 minutes we have reached the highest point of the day, the weather, the wind and the outside temperatures below the stratosphere have meant well with us: 36,000 meters! The sky is black, the horizon changes from green-brown to white, then an emerald blue and later only: black!The area on the horizon reflects the 6 kilometres of the earth's atmosphere where everything can live. Above that, it becomes difficult to impossible!
The horizon is 1,400 kilometres away so that we could look from Paris to Rome at the same moment!
Our pilots explain a lot to us. We are allowed to move in the gondola and go from window to window. We are simply speechless! What we experience here is called the "Overview Effect". That is the effect that occurs when a person becomes aware for the first time of what the earth is and how it presents itself from great heights!
We glide forward with the wind, the 36,000 meters of flight altitude is held. We still hear nothing but our heartbeat! We are in a kind of mental euphoria, and it is challenging to process what we see. However, our pilots don't get tired of giving us a safe feeling and patiently explain the phase we are in and answer all the questions we have, even if some of them are asked more often. We get snacks and drinks and just feel good.
We could always float up here and around the globe. Moreover, even higher. Of course, that's not possible, physics and technology are pushing the limits!
We have 2 hours to enjoy the view. Outdoor cameras give us a bright look of areas not visible through the windows, so we can also see just in time what is below us, and above us. Under us the earth, above us the universe!
After two hours the pilots open the valves in the helium balloon, which has been tremendous since we've been up here. Sure, we understand that! At launch, it is more of a tube but contains the same amount of helium as now. Only, the higher we go, the less the external pressure becomes, the pressure in the balloon inflates into a huge ball!
We slowly lose altitude and can see it on the monitors. We feel like we are in an elevator, but it is not unpleasant. Twenty thousand meters are exceeded after 10 minutes, after another 10 minutes we have reached 10,000 meters. Then the pilots uncouple the BLOON gondola from the balloon, and we start to fall, and poof, we become weightless for 2 minutes! What a feeling!
The surface of the earth now approaches us faster, but still, we are not racing towards the planet!
sail separation &
A paraglider has opened which now hangs massive above the BLOON. It helps the pilots to steer the BLOON. We are like a sailing ship on the sea, but we are in the air!
We float towards the ground, but now it is much slower than before. The pilots steer the paraglider, we don't get much from movements, but notice that the BLOON glides down like in a spiral.
Through the GPS, the landing troops of Zero2Infinity have followed us on our way to the stratosphere and back again, so they will be able to receive us at a select landing point.
descent & landing
It goes further down, and 10 meters above the ground unique air cushions are inflated in a fraction of a second around the BLOON gondola, and we put on butter-soft! Wow! The Soyuz spacemen who come back from space in Kazakhstan can only dream of this soft landing here!
The paraglider is released, and after a few minutes the BLOON-Gondola is opened, bright light floods in. Quickly we can get out and are greeted by smiling faces of the BLOON ground crews! Fast we are in the vans and leave towards the base from where we started.
We look back longingly and see the white gondola of the BLOON slowly disappear into the brown of the surroundings. We can't say much yet; I think it will come later in the day!
After we arrived at the BLOON starting point, they brought us back to our hotel, where we could freshen up. Now we're in a big room in the hotel, the tables are full of food and drinks for us, and on big video screens, we see the highlights of our BLOON flight! Laughter appears as we see our bewildered faces in the BLOON gondola!
After some time, it becomes official, and the CEO of Zero2Infinity looks ahead of us, clutches our hand and says "Welcome back to Earth after the near-space experience with the BLOON!
We receive a certificate with all flight data, and memory sticks with hundreds of images and video recordings from various cameras. We can watch ourselves as we climb into the BLOON and then disappear into the sky until nothing more can be seen.
We see pictures of the cameras outside the BLOON gondola in all directions, utilising a 3D movie. WOW! We are speechless!
At the after-show party, we get to know many team members of the BLOON team, and after this beautiful evening we ask ourselves only one question: "When are we going up there again"?
Where commercial airplanes fly
Past 99% of the atmosphere
Where our near space balloons go
preparation & launch phase
sail separation &
descent & landing
An extraordinary experience
From different locations, the BLOON will take you noiselessly and completely environmentally neutral in a Pod equipped with all amenities in 1.5 hours up to an altitude of 36 kilometres. High up, where you can see the blackness of space above you, the emerald blue colour of the atmosphere and the clouds and green and brown of the earth below you, the BLOON Pod comes to a standstill and floats. Below you are 99% of the mass of the whole atmosphere of our planet.
The earth's curvature is grandiose, at a distance of 1,400 kilometres, you can see the narrow boundary of the atmosphere, which changes from blue to black. That is the area where we can exist, from a height of 6,000 metres, it becomes challenging to survive without specialised training or technical aids in the long run.
You have experienced your overview effect, without the roar of rocket engines, without the endurance of G-forces. Moreover, there isn't dizziness that could cause you nausea.
Welcome to the BLOON, the space experience you can't better experience! Also, when you are down, you ask yourself: When will I go up there again?
SPACE AFFAIRS also offer to those who have nothing left for speeds beyond MACH 3 or G-forces above +6 G a journey into space.
In a longyear partnership with the Spanish company "Zero2Infinity", based in Barcelona, we also offer the so-called "Overview Effect" to those who long for an absolutely comfortable, stress-free and also absolutely noiseless transport option!
Flying into the stratosphere is one of humankind's oldest dreams. Since the 30s of the last century, people have been diving into the stratosphere with balloons. Between 1957 and 1958, the US Air Force launched the "Manhigh" project. Helium-filled balloons were used to transport gondolas that provided space for a balloon pilot. The flights were carried out to gain new insights into radiation and its effects on the human body.
The first stratospheric balloon flights were carried out by Auguste Piccard in 1931 and 1932, so the BLOON has a technology that builds on the achievements of technology over the last 80 years.
What makes the BLOON so unique?
- No use of highly explosive substances
- No high speeds or high climb rates
- Certified use of technology, based on over 80 years of experience
- The paraglider used offers the highest level of safety when descending from flight altitude back to Earth
- No occurrence of travel sickness (motion sickness)
- No extremely stressful and intensive preparation training necessary
- Suitable for private events as well as company incentives
- Family friendly
- No use of air-polluting, chemical or hazardous fuels
- 100% environmentally friendly
- Unique and not comparable to other high-altitude or suborbital flights
- The main focus is on a unique travel opportunity and the total duration of the BLOON adventure
How do I book the BLOON?
We now accept bookings for the BLOON. The commercial launch is expected to start in 2023.
The technology is available and ready, but we still have to wait for the legal basis of the commercial flight certification. These legal bases are the same for all those who are currently working on the development of suborbital spacecraft. The projects are being tested in a trial phase (experimental status) and can only be used for the commercial transport of humans if all guidelines and rules are in place and can be applied.
The first crewed tests are expected in 2022; regular BLOON operation is to be expected to start in 2023.
You will receive the following total benefits:
- Pick-up at the destination airport in Spain
- Two nights in a high-class resort near the departure point in southern Spain
- Scientific and technical briefing
- Safety briefings on emergency measures and behaviour during the flight
- Approx. 5 hours experience (2 hours flight time at the highest possible altitude of the day!) from take-off to landing with the BLOON
SPACE AFFAIRS has more than 19 years of experience in space tourism and commercial space travel. Our customers who have participated in "Edge of Space Flights" with the MIG-29 or the MIG-25 could not imagine what this experience will be like before.
For each customer, it is rather individual to see. However, the journey with the BLOON into the stratosphere is regarded to be as one of the safest and most luxurious travel into high altitudes what will exist. We can't tell you anything, and we can only talk to you about our experiences.