Article Image

IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

This New Space Capsule Was Designed to Feel Like a Luxury Car Inside


Halo Space, the Spanish startup which is joining the burgeoning near-space balloon flight sector, has revealed its Aurora capsule. The company said eight passengers paying $150,000 and a pilot will ascend 20 miles above the Earth beginning in 2026.

The interior of the capsule was created by Frank Stephenson, who formerly led design efforts at Ferrari, Maserati, and McLaren (and famously designed the next-generation Mini in 2001). Aurora arranges its passengers in a circle facing outwards around a central, also circular restroom.

The layout is different from its competitors: Florida-based Space Perspective, which has a lounge with semicircular seating; Zephalto in France, which has individual enclosed spaces; and Arizona-based World View, with the seating inside a more angular capsule.

The seats will be comfortable, but weight constraints mean they won't offer the cushioning or range of motion of first-class commercial airline flights. While Aurora has a 16-foot diameter, the capsule's maximum takeoff weight, including the nine occupants, is just 7,700 pounds, similar to a fully laden Chevy Suburban.

Safety and weight take priority over conspicuous comfort, so Stephenson and his team will have to remove another 440 pounds from the carbon-fiber craft to hit that target.

"Of course, we've done our due diligence and looked at what our competitors have shown," Stephenson told Robb Report yesterday at the Aurora's official unveil at London's Peninsula Hotel. "But they're often artist impressions or renderings, which show cabins with lounging room, which just isn't realistic. Space is limited. You can't have super-plush seats because that's where you need to take the weight out. What we're showing is what clients will get."