In addition to the Breitling team, three crews have officially announced their intention to take off this winter on a non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. In total, 10 teams have tried this challenge.
Like the Breitling Orbiter, the Virgin Global Challenger project will be making its third attempt, and Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand will be accompanied by a "last-minute" surprise crew member in the shape of Steve Fossett, who broke his own balloon distance record on board Solo Spirit last August. Virgin Global Challenger is a Rozier balloon fitted with a pressurized cabin with technical flight features similar to those of Breitling Orbiter 3.
Kevin Uliassi will be flying solo from the United States for his second attempt on board J. Renee, a smaller Rozier balloon with no pressurized cabin. He should fly at lower altitudes than his Virgin and Breitling competitors.
The Team Re-Max balloon flown by John Wallington, Bob Martin and Dave Liniger plans to lift off in December from Alice Springs in Australia. This project, which has been in the pipeline for several years, has arisen from tests carried out by NASA in the area of stratospheric balloons.
In this gigantic balloon - its diameter reaches 140 meters (460 ft) when at full volume - the crew plans to actually fly in the stratosphere, at an altitude of over 35,000 meters (115,000 ft), and in an east-westerly direction, contrary to the other projects.