A Bloomberg story published today reported that the French space experience company, Zephalto plans to take passengers to near space in a stratospheric balloon, and give them a complete fine dining experience that replicates that of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The story, titled Eat Lunch At The Edge Of Space For $132,000, quoted Zephalto’s founder and aerospace engineer Vincent Farret d’Astiès as saying that the balloon will rise to 25 kilometres above the earth’s surface: “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. You’re in the darkness of space, but without the zero gravity experience.” The ticket per person is priced at $132,000 ( ₹ 1 crore approximately) and they will be ready for flight in 2025.
The company’s website, zephalto.com, highlights that passengers will travel in a capsule attached to a balloon. It will have expansive windows to offer panoramic views of the earth from the edge of the planet. The total duration of the flight will be around six hours and there will be about 60 flights in a year.
This is not the first time that space food has made news. When business tycoon Elon Musk sent his company SpaceX Inspiration4’s Dragon Capsule into space in September 2021, the crew complained of being served cold pizza. Musk apologised to them in a Tweet: “Sorry it was cold! Dragon will have a food warmer & free wifi next time :)” . Space food typically comes in tubes with little attention paid to taste and textures. But, the Dragon had complete meals with Mediterranean lamb, beef and turkey jerky and chocolate peppermint sticks.
In India, food for the crew of space mission Gagaanyaan, is being prepared by the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) in Mysuru. On the menu, there are items like vegetable biryani, chicken pulao and aloo paratha.