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Startoflight will launch a balloon-based spacecraft in 2025

French start-up Stratoflight and engineering firm Expleo are teaming up to develop a balloon-based spacecraft with a balcony allowing passengers to look down on Earth from the stratosphere.

Stratoflight’s spacecraft will allow passengers to reach 35 km (22 miles) above the ground in a capsule complete with viewing platform.

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The spacecraft is 8m (26ft) long, 4m (13ft) wide and 3m (10ft) high and will be able to carry up to six people, including two pilots. It uses hydrogen-filled balloons similar to those used for scientific research. To achieve a zero carbon footprint, hydrogen will be produced locally at the take-off site from renewable solar and wind sources.

Passenger reservations will open in early 2023, with the first flight scheduled for 2025.

Advice Expedition designs the flight capsule for Stratoflight, including the extra-vehicular observation deck, or “balcony”. Passengers wearing pressure suits will be able to step out into space to view Earth from the stratosphere, at an altitude where the curvature of the planet will be visible.

Engineers at Expleo’s Innovation Lab consider many parameters to ensure a safe and immersive experience for passengers in the capsule with large glass surfaces in its structure, including structural sizing, interior and exterior panels, design of on-board electronics, safety and aerodynamics.

The cockpit, made of biosourced, recycled or recyclable materials, will be able to fly up to 140 km/h during the start of the school year. The descent to the ground will be done under a piloted paraglider.

The program is developed with several European partners, including To balance for parachutes and Spartan space for the pressure suit.

Arnaud Longobardi, airline pilot and co-founder of stratoflightsaid: “Stratoflight offers passengers multiple exceptional experiences: the ascent in space which resembles a flight in a hot air balloon, going out on the observation balcony, moving through space like an astronaut and landing , similar to free flight in a paraglider; all in a spaceship-like capsule.

“For me, this mission is not only the realization of my pilot dreams but also a technological innovation respectful of the planet.”

Frédérique Rebout, Space Manager at Expleo said: “Making space accessible to everyone, while respecting the environment, is at the heart of what we believe in at Expleo. Our teams of space engineers have designed this capsule with this dual objective.

“And we intend to go further. We are currently studying the possibility of manufacturing the capsule from new green composite materials based on bamboo, which would further reduce its carbon footprint. We are proud of our work with Stratoflight and our contribution to this innovation.

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