Cheap space travel, made in China

Beijing start-up company Space Vision is planning to offer a low-cost near-space tourism service. The trips will take tourists 40 kilometres above the Earth in a specially designed high-altitude balloon, which will begin testing next summer.

IBTimes reports that Space Vision will offer affordable near-space travel in a special balloon that is filled with non-flammable, non-toxic helium. From 40 kilometres tourists would be able to see views of the earth and the vast dark space that surrounds the planet. At the end of the five-hour trip, the Space Vision capsule will descend using a large parachute.

Although travellers in the balloon would be able to experience a brief moment of weightlessness, they will not be able to call themselves astronauts. According to common definitions, astronauts travel to altitudes of 50 kilometres and over.

The trip to near-space is said to cost 500,000 yuan, or just over €64,000 per person, including training and insurance. Other companies such as Virgin Galactic, are said to take travellers up 100 kilometers into space for $250,000.

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