Students from Barcelona engineering school design interior of device for ‘low cost’ space travel
Four person Bloon capsule rises to stratosphere on 120-meter helium balloon created by Catalan company Zero 2 Infinity
Seven students from the Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering have designed the inside of a capsule that will allow leisure trips into space for 110,000 euros. The completely diaphanous device has modular seats and four large windows, while its interior is designed with state-of-the-art materials.
The space travel system was invented by the Zero 2 Infinity company, based in Barberà del Vallès (an area near Barcelona). The invention stands out because it uses a helium balloon with a diameter of 120 meters to rise to the stratosphere. The capsule will reach a distance of 36 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The company has been working on prototypes for seven years and foresees a completely functioning and finished device ready to offer space trips to tourists in 2019.
The seven students were selected for the project according to their level of involvement and their final degree paper. The students did experiments inside a scale model of the capsule for six hours to assess what the real situation would be like for passengers. This means that the final product design is based around the needs of the passengers. Thus the seats are modular and can even be completely stowed away, making the interior dynamic. If travelers want, they can lie on the floor, which is soft. Also, the 20-second descent has been taken into account, when the user will experience a sensation of loss of gravity, which is why soft materials have been used for the whole interior.
The capsule has capacity for four travelers and two pilots. It has been developed with the latest technological innovations, with interactive windows to provide information in real time and an entertainment system with music and other functions. Each traveler will have their own area, but being a modular design, the capsule’s interior can also be shared. Thankfully, the design also includes a bathroom. A system of artificial lighting will change the chromatic tonalities depending on what can be seen outside to make the experience more immersive.
‘Low cost’ space travel
With the interior design drawn up, the Elisava School and Zero 2 Infinity continue working together on a new phase of the project, to create a life-sized capsule ready to start offering the space trips, Javier Peña, general director of the Elisava school, told ACN.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Zero 2 Infinity, José Mariano López, confirmed that the trip will cost 110,000 euros and that the company has already received several bookings from future passengers.
The company, which prefers not to disclose the amount of investment made or the origin of the capital, calculates that tourists will start going to the stratosphere in two years. If the response is good, the production of further capsules is not ruled out, although there has been no indication yet as to where the flights will take off from.