What's that? What's a ballute? Well, it's a giant airbag is what
it is, but the word "ballute" is actually a cross between balloon
and a parachute... get it? And more importantly, NASA thinks it can
use them for the atmospheric reentry of spacecraft.
Despite being the subject of some jokes... and drawing NASA's
ire on joint missions... Russia's "space tourist" program has
succeeded in drawing attention to that nation's space endeavours.
It has also brought in needed revenue for the program. Those facts
are not lost on the fledgling Chinese space program, which may
consider a similar program in the near future.