This space tourism company wants to take people to the stratosphere with a helium balloon for $150,000. See inside its capsule designed by a former Ferrari designer.

  • Halo Space is a space-tourism company that uses helium balloons instead of rockets or jets.

  • CEO Carlos Mira plans to launch commercial flights in 2026,  and take 10,000 people to the stratosphere by 2030.

  • The company unveiled the interior of its capsule, designed by ex-Ferrari designer Frank Stephenson.

Halo Space was founded in 2021 with the goal of improving access to space tourism.

It would still be out of reach for most people, at around $150,000 a ticket, but by using helium balloons instead of jets or rockets, it's cheaper and more sustainable than the likes of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

CEO Carlos Mira believes his company can take 10,000 people to the stratosphere within the next six years. He said Halo will start commercial flights in 2026.

Last Wednesday, the firm unveiled the interior of its capsule — designed by Frank Stephenson, a renowned industrial designer formerly of Ferrari and Maserati,.

Business Insider attended a London event hosted by the company to learn more about Halo Space and how it hopes to achieve its grand ambitions.

In the world of space tourism, the first companies that come to mind are the likes of SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic — which can cost millions of dollars for a ticket.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
Isaiah J. Downing/Reuters

Halo Space is trying a different, cheaper route. It plans to use a capsule lifted by a helium balloon into the stratosphere.

A Halo Space capsule in a hangar, and five employees sat at computers nearby wearing red shirts emblazoned with the company's name.
Courtesy of Halo SpacePete Syme/Business Insider

The Spanish company says its capsules will cruise at 18 to 22 miles above the Earth — around the same height as Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking skydive back in 2012.

Red Bull daredevil Felix Baumgartner prepares for his record-breaking 128,000-foot free fall from the stratosphere on Outside Television's "Mission to the Edge of Space."
Jay Nemeth/Red Bull Content Pool via AP

The best moments from Felix Baumgartner's supersonic jump

The trip would last for four to six hours in total. That's longer than a Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic flight, but less than SpaceX's.

Carlos Mira, at a Halo Space press conference stands in front of a slide showing the differences between SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Halo space tourism in terms of altitude and duration.
Pete Syme/Business Insider

But by using a balloon instead of jet engines, the price could be around $150,000 — compared to Virgin Galactic's $450,000; Blue Origin's $28 million; or Space X's $55 million. It's also more sustainable.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew5 Dragon spacecraft lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5, 2022
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Only about 650 people have ever been to space. The firm's CEO, Carlos Mira, claimed `Halo can up that figure to 10,000 by 2030 — aiming for at least two flights a week.

Carlos Mira, CEO of Halo Spaceflight, speaks at a press conference in the Peninsula Hotel in London.
Pete Syme/Business Insider

It plans to launch the capsule from sites in the US, Australia, Spain, and Saudi Arabia. The firm will set up temporary venues for customers that reflect the country, described as "more than glamping."

A sketch shows white tents and a Halo Space capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

At a press conference last Wednesday, Halo unveiled the interior of its space capsule, designed by Frank Stephenson — formerly of Ferrari and BMW.

Frank Stephenson speaks at a press conference in the Peninsula Hotel in London.
Pete Syme/Business Insider

Stephenson made his name designing the Fiat 500 and the BMW X5, among other cars, but has been more involved with aerospace firms in recent years. He previously spoke to Business Insider about his work designing electric-vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft, or eVTOLs — commonly known as flying taxis. Like Halo, they're focused on sustainability.

Stephenson spoke about how his design firm constructed its own 1:1 scale model of the capsule in order to figure out the best possible layout. "Computers don't design, humans design. That's really the only way to capture the human touch," he said.

Frank Stephenson stands in front of a presentation which shows a construction model of the Halo Space capsule, at a press conference in London
Pete Syme/Business Insider

He and his team tried a few different arrangements to figure out how to best position the nine seats, which includes one for a pilot.

Sketches of the designs for the Halo Space capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

They settled on this design, with all the seats facing outwards during the main cruise to maximize the views. But during takeoff and landing, half face backward and half forward.

A sketch and a generated image of Halo Space's capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

Stephenson shared the sketches of the seat design, showing how much thought went into details like the armrest and adjustable headrest.

Sketches of the seat design for the Halo Space capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

The capsule also features fold-down dining trays to maximize space. The area at the bottom stores meals, hot or cold, and Halo says it would serve whatever the customer requests.

Sketches of the inflight dining tray tables for the Halo Space capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

Stephenson said it was also important to maximize space for the bathroom: "Nobody likes a tight space. Even if you fly upper class in most commercial airliners, it's quite tight and uncomfortable."

A design for a circular bathroom shows a man standing inside for scale
Courtesy of Halo Space

The mannequin in the image represents the 95th percentile for male height.

One of the most intriguing features is its plans for augmented reality, like showing differing constellations in the sky or where on Earth the capsule is flying over.

A generated image shows the concept for Halo Space's augmented reality features, with space in the background.
Courtesy of Halo Space

Overall, the capsule is over 16 feet wide and 11 feet tall.

An overhead view of the design of Halo Space capsule as seen in space with eight seats arranged in a circle
Frank Stephenson's design for the Halo Space capsule.Courtesy of Halo Space

Halo has conducted five test flights since 2022 and hopes to launch commercial flights as soon as 2026.

A generated image shows the view of the earth from the inside of a Halo Space capsule
Courtesy of Halo Space

But its grand ambitions won't be easy to achieve. Halo thinks it will first be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration before getting approval in other countries.

A man wearing a Halo Space hoodie looks out over the Earth from space in a generated image.
Courtesy of Halo Space

Some at the press conference questioned whether Halo could face a similar fate as OceanGate, which owned the submersible that imploded last year. "Is this another way for rich people to kill themselves?" asked Aerospace Magazine's editor in chief.

The Titan submersible, a cylindrical vessel with a small hatch at the front, diving in dark blue waters.
OceanGate Expeditions' Titan submersible.OceanGate Expeditions via AP, File

What is OceanGate? Meet the company that made a business out of risky deep-sea tours of the Titanic shipwreck.

"Safety, for us, is the priority," Mira replied. "We are using mature technologies. Balloons have been around for more than 200 years." He also noted that Halo has partnered with engineering firms like Aciturri.

Halo Space CEO Carlos Mira stands in front of a presentation describing the firm's partner companies.
Pete Syme/Business Insider

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