Space Tourism: Luxury Dining At The Upper Levels of Earth's Atmosphere
CNN Travel reports that French company Zephalto is currently offering reservations for future trips aboard their pressurized capsule named Celeste, which is attached to a stratospheric balloon.
Zephalto, founded by former air traffic controller Vincent Farret d'Astiès, specializes in space tourism and aims to provide customers with the unique experience of dining in a capsule that ascends to an altitude of 25 kilometers. While savoring exquisite cuisine, space tourists will have the privilege of marveling at the Earth's curvature.
Luxury Dining For The Wealthy
Reservations are priced at approximately $10,900, securing buyers a seat when tickets officially go on sale. However, the ultimate cost of a Celeste journey will amount to around $131,000 per customer.
According to Zephalto, bookings for final flights in late 2025 are already being accepted, with the first flights scheduled from late 2024 to mid-2025. Celeste has the capacity to travel at a speed of four meters per second, swiftly carrying six passengers and two pilots to full altitude in under 90 minutes.
Following that, the capsule will leisurely float above the Earth for approximately three hours. During this time, guests will relish a sumptuous meal comprising various exquisite dishes accompanied by fine French wine. However, it's worth emphasizing that the primary focus of the experience remains the breathtaking view and the overall journey, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings.
Explore Space Tourism
Elegance and sophistication define this space tourism endeavor, building upon the pioneering efforts of the first space traveler, Dennis Tito, in 2001. In recent years, prominent space tourism companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic have made significant strides, promising to make space the ultimate desirable holiday destination.
It's important to distinguish between orbital space travel and sub-orbital space travel. The former involves high-speed, gravity-defying take-offs of longer duration, providing passengers with brief exposure to weightlessness and stunning views of space during the flight to the edge of the atmosphere.
In the case of sub-orbital space travel, such as the offerings by Zephalto and Space Perspective, journeys reach significantly higher altitudes than commercial aircraft typically attain, although these capsules will not enter suborbital space. Nevertheless, space tourists will still enjoy magnificent vistas of the Earth.
Zephalto, established in 2016, isn't the only company envisioning luxurious transportation for passengers in a hot air balloon. Florida-based Space Perspective is currently accepting reservations for its Spaceship Neptune.
The interior of the Celeste capsule will resemble that of an airplane, but passengers will be treated to truly awe-inspiring views.
When it comes to the culinary experience, Zephalto's ambitious project aims to rotate talented chefs who will have the freedom to curate the menu. They desire to unleash their creative prowess and customize the guest experience, offering refined and elevated dining options.
Zephalto has partnered with the French space agency, CNES, and enjoys collaboration with aviation company Airbus. The balloon will be powered by helium and will need to meet the safety certifications set by the European Aviation Safety Agency, similar to those required for commercial aircraft.
For now, Celeste is scheduled to launch from France, but Zephalto has aspirations to expand its operations globally.
Flights will be open to individuals of all ages, and prior training is not necessary to embark on this extraordinary adventure.
Photo credit: Screenshot CNN