Quiet Mark, a trading arm of the charitable foundation Noise Abatement Society, has presented Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity with its special Award of Distinction at the NAS John Connell Awards 2012. Josep Maria Lladó, General Manager of Ultramagic Balloons and investor in Zero 2 Infinity, received the accolade for the company’s work to bring quiet and environmentally friendly Near Space travel to the mass market. Zero 2 Infinity aims to offer flights at 36 km (Near Space) for private travellers using high-altitude balloons, and giving 6 full hours of complete peace and magnificent views of the planet. Using only helium for lift and batteries for power, the company’s so-called Bloon capsule will give travellers a truly life-changing overview of Earth, which only astronauts have been able to see until now. With team members’ background experience at ESA, NASA and Boeing, as well as endorsement from Richard Branson, Zero 2 Infinity is pioneering Space tourism for travellers and scientists alike. The flights will not only be for leisure, but will also enable the collection of huge quantities of scientific data, including possible sound recordings of Near Space environments.
Poppy Elliott, Managing Director of Quiet Mark, commented: “Zero 2 Infinity is a company offering something completely unique, a chance to touch Space without the use of explosive rockets or powered aircraft which can have a negative environmental effect both in terms of noise pollution and gas emissions. They were the obvious choice for our Quiet Mark Award of Distinction this year, which recognizes true technological and environmental innovation of this kind.”
The John Connell Awards, held annually at The House of Commons, were established 11 years ago to recognise John Connell’s extensive lobbying of the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960, when noise became a statutory nuisance for the first time in the UK. The awards recognize local authorities, commercial organisations and individuals judged to have been outstanding in their efforts to both reduce the impact of noise nuisance, and to seek to pioneer practical and innovative solutions to noise pollution. Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales, CEO and Founder of Zero 2 Infinity, added: “We are making incredible progress with our vision to make Space tourism a reality and plan to start commercial operations before 2015. We will offer a truly out-of-this-world experience, which will change people’s perspective on the planet forever and, we believe, help more people understand the need to protect our planet’s fragile ecosystem. We’re really pleased to be recognized by Quiet Mark with this award, and will continue to push forward the boundaries of peaceful Space flight.”