The Breitling Orbiter will be relying on high-density nickel-hydrogen batteries, previously reserved for spacecraft, which should provide the crew with ample solar energy via solar collectors oriented automatically in the appropriate direction. Recharged during the daytime, the batteries will power the capsule's ventilation, lighting and electronic equipment at night. A generator and back-up batteries will be on board in the event of a breakdown of the solar-power system.
A kerosene-burning heating installation will maintain the capsule's internal temperature between 61 F and 64 F despite external temperatures in the -40 F range.
The capsule itself is made of kevlar and carbon-fiber composite materials. The pressurized cylinder is more than 17 feet long, large enough to enable its two-man crew to take turns resting on a bed.
The pressurization system is designed to maintain an internal pressure equivalent to an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet, although the balloon will actually be flying at an altitude of nearly 33,000 feet. The crew will breathe a compound of liquid oxygen and nitrogen in a proportion of 20 to 80 to avoid any fire hazard. The carbon dioxide exhaled by the crew will be absorbed by lithium dioxide cartridges also containing activated carbon to maintain good air quality.
Along with a pair of seats for the crew, the balloon's flight and navigation instruments (global positioning system, computer, fax) are all located in the cockpit, together with the ground communication equipment (radio and data links) required for the flight. A radar transponder enables air controllers all over the world to identify the balloon throughout its flight. For the latter to be officially recognized by the International Aeronautics Federation, a barograph, or recording barometer, connected to a GPS logs all flight data onto a recording device.
A compact kitchen and toilets complete the capsule's amenities. The crew's food, limited in quantity and volume, includes partially freeze-dried products, including meat and yogurt, along with dried fruit to provide slow sugars that release their energy gradually.