TRIPS from Andalucia to space have been planned for 2021.

A Spanish company called Zero 2 Infinity has launched its own space tourism initiative.

This kind of travel is made possible by three projected launch bases or stratoports spread across three continents.

One will be in Neom in Saudi Arabia, another in Baja California in Mexico and the third in Jaen in Spain.

Each will cost between €10 million and €12 million.

Big companies owned by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have all got plans to launch space tourism trips.

Musk’s SpaceX plans to have the first civilian in space this year, Bezos’s Blue Origin made its twelfth test flight in December and Branson’s Virgin Galactic already has reservations for 600 space tourists, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.

All three companies offer 10-20 minute trips in rockets that travel 100 kilometres into the unknown and require a certain level of physical fitness.

Zero 2 Infinity on the other hand intends to offer a more modest experience that will also be environmentally friendly, with no carbon footprint.

Passengers will travel in a pressurised cabin or pod, propelled by a balloon fuelled by helium gas and it will fly higher than planes but lower than satellites, reaching 36 kilometres.

Zero 2 Infinity 1
UP UP AND AWAY: Zero 2 Infinity’s balloon

While the trip may be longer than other space flights, no extensive training is needed and passengers will not be wearing astronaut gear, but overalls similar to those of a race car driver.

Passengers will mostly feel the same as they do on a normal flight, but there will be a certain level of discomfort as there won’t be any catering on toilets on the initial trips.

“As there is nothing abrupt about it, it’s the kind of tourism anyone can enjoy. 

“And while the landing is totally measured by the technicians, the balloon can move from the take-off point by 30 to 50 kilometers, but we are fully prepared to intercept the landings,” said Kemel Kharbachi, founder of Agora Next Tourism Tech Innovation Hub, an accelerator of technological initiatives related to smart tourism.

Two crew members will accompany four space tourists on each expedition, with 40 technicians controlling the proceedings from the ground.

If everything goes to plan, Zero 2 Infinity will be launched for the first time in Neom by professional mountaineer Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to reach the top of Everest.

The package will cost €125,000, significantly less than its rivals which are charging €220,000.

Kharbachi said: “The 2021 tourists will have to have plenty of economic clout, but as both the technology and the program evolve, in five or 10 years we want this type of trip to become something like the ‘all-inclusive’ packages to the Caribbean.”

Currently, trips can only be booked directly with the company but will soon be available through travel agencies specialising in adventure tourism.

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