Zephalto, a French company offering what they call “the most pristine spaceship of the 21st century,” is planning something daring: an opportunity to straddle the stratosphere while enjoying fine dining. It’s a step towards the stars for commercial space exploration, but it also comes at an astronomical cost. According to Bloomberg, the exploratory opportunity will set patrons back a startling $132,000 per person.
Targeted for 2025, Zephalto founder and aerospace engineer Vincent Farret d’Astiès plans on taking six passengers onboard a specially designed balloon to provide a French cuisine-inspired wine and dine experience.
“I partnered with the French space agency, and we worked on the concept of the balloon together,” Farret d’Astiès told Bloomberg.
Zephalto plans to complete 60 flights a year, in which balloons filled with helium and hydrogen will ascend 15.5 miles into the air. Overall, it’s a six-hour journey. At peak altitude, within the stratosphere, the balloon will be three times higher than your average commercial airliner. Guests will spend 1.5 hours ascending to the stratosphere, three hours at peak altitude and 1.5 hours descending back to French territory.
It’s an opportunity to see the planet as only astronauts previously could.
“We choose 25 kilometers high because it’s the altitude where you are in the darkness of space, with 98% of the atmosphere below you, so you can enjoy the curvature of the Earth in the blue line,” Farret d’Astiès said. “You’re in the darkness of space, but without the zero gravity experience.”
Zephalto hopes to offer “Michelin-star quality” cuisine for their patrons’ fine dining experience.
“All your meals are designed and cooked by famous French chefs,” according to the company’s website. “More than a subtle meeting of the senses, they will allow you to have a moment of pure contemplation.”
Hunter Boyce is a writer, digital producer and journalist home grown from a Burke County, Georgia farm. Throughout his career, Hunter has gone on to write sports, entertainment, political and local breaking news for a variety of outlets.