A company in India is laying the ground to send tourists to space in a spaceship attached to a unique high-altitude balloon system by 2025.
1. Aura Aerospace Technology
The Mumbai-based Aura Aerospace Technology Pvt Ltd company started building a space capsule measuring 10 feet x 8 feet, which can carry six tourists plus the pilot into space at a time.
A prototype of the space capsule, named SKAP 1, was presented at the science exhibition ‘Akash Tatva’ running from November 5 until November 7, in Dehradun, and received positive remarks from scientists and visitors.
The firm will start launching flights as of 2025, Space Aura founder and CEO Akash Porwal told local media. Once the prototype passes the validation tests, the launch will likely happen in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. A decision confirming the launch sites will be taken shortly, Porwal said.
Equipped with all modern facilities, life-saving and information systems, the Aura’s space capsule will be propelled by a balloon filled with helium or hydrogen gas up to 30 to 35 km above sea level. From this point in space, tourists will be able to witness the Earth’s curvature and the blackness of space for around 1 hour.
However, the space capsule will remain within a 35 km radius above the earth. This means that the experience is not entirely “outer space” since, technically, “outer space” is beyond the Karman Line, which is at an altitude of 100 km.
To bring down the spaceship, the space balloon will slowly be deflated and a parachute will be unpacked. At a definite point, the space balloon will be detached from the space capsule and the tourists will be brought down safely.
Aura Aerospace Technology is counting with the support from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to achieve its target of launching tourists to space within a bit longer than 2 years.
3. India’s space domain
India’s Department of Space is around since 1972 to help promote, handhold and authorize the activities of the private sector in the space domain.
Despite decades of work, India’s first private sector rocket Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace, is set to launch the Prarambh mission in 2022, carrying three customer payloads somewhere between the 12-16 of November.
The mission will be historic and will open a new chapter in India’s race for space exploration, since rockets in the country so far have been the domain of the ISRO.
“Super thrilled to announce our first launch mission Prarambh from the beautiful island of Sriharikota. Crazy mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness,” Pawan Chandana, Co-founder of Skyroot tweeted.