José Mariano Lَpez-Urdiales, founder and CEO at Zero2Infinity, gives an interview to AFP during the The World Space Risk Forum (WSRF) in Dubai on Nov. 4, 2016. / AFP / KARIM SAHIB
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After a string of high-profile setbacks for rocket programs aimed at one day flying paying customers into space, a Spanish tech firm plans to send stargazers skyward using gas-filled balloons.Barcelona-based Zero2Infinity aims to harness the same technology used in helium weather balloons to float its first clients to the edge of space within two years, according to CEO Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales. Founded seven years ago, the company has already done over 30 test flights using prototypes to demonstrate the technology.With balloons, Lopez-Urdiales insisted, the dangers are dramatically minimised.In 2014, the UAE government said its investments in space technologies topped 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion, 4.8 billion euros).Lopez-Urdiales said that the technology for balloon space flights has existed for decades.
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