EOS X Space, a Spanish space tourism company, plans to carry out the first test launch of its pressurized capsule powered by a helium balloon in the first half of 2023 from Seville and the second manned flight for the second half of this year from the United Arab Emirates. The first commercial service would take place in 2024.
The company has designed and coordinated the manufacturing engineering of the first 100% zero-emission pressurized capsule with capacity for seven passengers plus a pilot, capable of going up to 40,000 meters high, and returning to Earth. The capsule will be propelled by a helium balloon on the way up and with a parachute on the way down.
To that end, it has signed a long-term manufacturing agreement for a new final assembly manufacturing facility for its next-generation NAO V-class spacecraft. Located near the Seville airport, at the Aeronautical Pole, the facility will be able to produce up to eight spacecraft a year and will bring hundreds of highly-skilled manufacturing and aerospace engineering jobs to the area.
The company is currently selecting TIER 1 suppliers from the consortium to build the main sub-assemblies of the spacecraft, which will be delivered to the new Seville facility for final assembly. The EOS X SPACE motherships will transport complete spacecraft to Spaceport at its two bases, Europe (Seville) and United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi), for flight testing and commercial operation.
“Our spacecraft final assembly factory is key to accelerating our fleet production, enabling a rapid increase in flight capacity that will fuel our revenue growth,” said EOS X Space CEO and founder Kemel. Kharbachy. “We are delighted to expand into the Andalucía (Seville) area, which is home to exceptional aerospace talent, and we look forward to growing our team and fleet in our new facilities”, comments the manager.
The facility is already under construction and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023. Final assembly manufacturing processes at the facility will be supported by a digital twin (Metaverse) architecture that enables seamless integration between the company and the vendors, enabling real-time collaboration and strong governance; and an increase in production efficiency.
Different space tourism
The EOS X Space approach differs from other space tourism proposals in several ways. The first is that it will be a balloon that drives a pressurized capsule, with the capacity to transport seven people and a pilot, without the need to use a space suit, at 40,000 meters high, from where these new space tourists will be able to contemplate the darkness of space. and the curvature of the Earth. Another difference is that the trip will take five hours.
The trip also bears the mark of sustainable. While other space tourism projects use rocket-type launchers, which return to land, the EOS X system is powered by a helium balloon, a non-polluting fuel.
Another difference will be the price, compared to 450,000 dollars for initiatives such as Virgin Galactic, the Spanish company talks about a price of 150,000 euros, much less money, but still within the reach of a few.
In addition, it will have several Space Center HUB complexes in both bases of operations based in Spain (Seville) and the United Arab Emirates. It will present an unprecedented experience, also offering a magnificent shuttle space complex, hospitality Center to accommodate future high-net-worth individual (HWNI) customers. For five days, the EOS X Space instructors and operations managers have designed an ultra-personalized program in various thematic, immersive (VR, AR Metaverse), gastronomic, longevity and educational activities.
“Spain, specifically Seville, is a growing innovation hub and even more so with the incorporation of the new Spanish Space Agency, geographically located among our existing operations in southern Europe. This will allow us to accelerate progress from conceptual design to production and final assembly at scale, as we capitalize on the many advantages they offer,” explains Kharbachi.
EOS X Space has signed an agreement as a provider of engineering and development services to the multinational aerospace Strata an Mubadala Company, the company that owns the Abu Dhabi Sovereign Fund. In said agreement several angles of collaboration are established.
At the same time, the company has closed a series B financing round. The operation is between 20 and 30 million euros with a valuation of 150 million. This round has been led by various funds from the UAE, including the EOS Investor vehicle X Space Technology Corp. created by its founder and CEO Kemel Kharbachi.
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