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Zero 2 Infinity: Multibillion-euro business line launches into near space

Spain · Jul 04, 2019· By Gareth Gardiner Jones

©Zero 2 Infinity

Europe's only near space player using balloon technology targets high demand in a lucrative market, including space tourism

“We are at the forefront of the internationalization of the new space phenomenon,” said Izan Peris Marti, Head of Product at Spanish space startup Zero 2 Infinity at the 2019 edition of 4YFN.

The aeronautical engineer from Europe's only private space tech company using balloon technology made this bold statement to CompassList on the huge economic potential offered by today's new space race and how his company's product range - including the Elevate balloon that Peris is personally responsible for - is tailored to meet that demand. Peris' assertion is backed up by his company's more than €950m in Letters of Interest received for one product still undergoing late-stage testing.

With American companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin setting the scene for imminent space tourism, another lucrative space revolution is already well underway - launching small satellites and testing equipment in near space, from 20–100 km above sea level. The estimated value of the market for global space services in 2025 will be US$27.18 bn, more than triple the value in 2017, with more than 11,600 small satellites expected to be launched by 2030.

“The space sector was closed off for decades but now that billionaires have come in, the sector has opened up commercially and is undergoing a revolution,” Peris said. “Thanks to the miniaturization of the sector, smaller satellites don't require large rockets to launch them, but the rocket sector has not adapted adequately to meet it.” This has meant that smaller satellites still have to be launched from larger rockets as an additional load and haven't enjoyed services like being able to choose a launch day.

Located in the Barcelona satellite town of Barberà del Vallès, Zero 2 Infinity was established in 2009 by José Mariano López-Urdiales, a former Boeing systems engineer and now CEO, and has a team of 15, mostly engineers.  The founder was inspired to create his company after his father, an astronomer, used balloons to transport telescopes into the atmosphere.

Balloons, not rockets 

Edited by S. Mani

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