Space projects are numerous in France and they all have a part of originality which makes them unique. This is the case of Stratoflight, a Toulouse company which has just presented its manned stratospheric capsule project at the IAC.
The idea is simple. Raise a capsule inhabited by six travelers and two pilots to altitude using a hydrogen balloon. Once they reach 35 kilometers above the ground, the “tourists” will be able to step out into the void of space to enjoy a magnificent view of the Earth and space.
The big plus of this capsule is therefore to offer a “balcony” which allows you to go out (equipped) in order to enjoy the view even better. With Stratoflight, the company hopes to be able to combine two fundamental values: the discovery of space for all, and ecology.
An ecological stratospheric flight project
For years, the space sector has had a reputation as a polluting industry. It is enough to see a rocket take off to understand that sending pieces of metal into space requires a lot of energy, and therefore resources.
Stratoflight stands out on this point by offering a solution “as close to carbon neutrality as possible. The capsule will be designed with biosourced, fully recycled or recyclable materials.
On the other hand, no propellant (fuel) will be used, neither for takeoff nor for landing. Built jointly with the company Expleo, this capsule project will rise in the air thanks to an air balloon before falling back to earth under a large canvas wing, like a paraglider.
First commercial flight expected in 2025
For Arnaud Longobardi, co-founder of the program, this project is “the dream of all pilots. Himself present in the world of aviation, he is impatient and hopes that the first test flights of 2024 will go well.
For the moment only a 1/16 representation has been built. Presented on the occasion of the IAC, the largest aerospace congress in France currently being held in Paris, the project will open its reservation calendar at the beginning of 2023. The first commercial flights are expected for 2025 .
Stratoflight is not the only company to want to go to the upper strata of the Earth’s atmosphere to share the joys of space at a lower cost. Also in France, the young company Zephalto is quite well advanced in the development of its balloon. The first commercial flights could take place in 2024. Again the idea is the same, to go about thirty kilometers above the ground and enjoy the view of the Earth. All in a balloon, which makes the experience very respectful of the environment.