Until Virgin Galactic launches, the only way to get to space as a civilian is to pay Russia a cool $20 million. If you’re willing to fudge your definition of ‘space’ however, you may have a much cheaper option in a couple of years: A theme park under development in China is working on a high-altitude ‘deep space’ balloon tour that will take visitors into the lower stratosphere.
The company behind the experience, KaungChi, says the balloon will lift a pressurized passenger capsule, called “Traveller”, about 15 miles above the earth’s surface. That’s not exactly space but it is high enough to see the curvature of the Earth. Riders will then hang out in the stratosphere for a few hours before descending back to terra firma.
Again, it’s not quite a ‘space’ experience, but it still sounds like a once in a lifetime experience. The project is still in the research phase too, and is part of a larger $1.5 billion theme park project dubbed “Future Valley.” There’s no ETA on when it opens, but would-be ‘space’ travellers will have to travel to Hangzhou for a ride.