KuangChi Science, a Shenzhen-based firm that specializes in emerging and futuristic science and technology endeavors, recently announced it was investing $1.5 billion into the development of various futuristic experiences and technologies — including launching balloons that are designed to simulate life in deep space.
According to China Daily, the balloons will be launched from Hangzhou in eastern China, and would rise as high as 24 kilometers above ground.
Before we get to the technology, let’s clear up something: 24 km is not space. That altitude puts you in the middle of the stratosphere. 100km is generally believed to be the boundary at which Earth and its atmosphere ends and outer space begins. And “deep space” is a phrase usually reserved to refer to everything outside of Earth’s own gravitational orbit.
In other words, this altitude really isn’t, as China Daily calls it, “just beyond the border of outer space.”
All that aside, KuangChi’s goal is to create a futuristic environment where people can fly up into the sky and experience an approximation of space (since an “approximation” is all it will be). The “Traveller” capsule uses a giant balloon to take passengers up into “near space” for two to three hours. The experience really doesn’t simulate space, but people inside would get a rather breathtaking view of the world from above that few have ever experienced. The capsule is pressurized to provide maximum comfort throughout the journey.