Space Perspective, a Florida-based company, is making significant strides in the burgeoning field of space tourism. Known for its ambitious goal to bring tourists to the edge of outer space, the company has recently achieved a critical milestone by constructing a physical test model of its Neptune capsule. This development marks a shift from conceptual plans to tangible progress in space travel.
In 2020, Space Perspective announced its plans to offer a unique space experience to groups of eight paying passengers, along with one pilot, for six-hour journeys. The highlight of these trips is reaching an altitude of 100,000 feet (30,480 meters), a vantage point where passengers can witness the curvature of the Earth against the stark backdrop of outer space. The prospect of such a view has been a driving force behind the company’s endeavors.
The journey is designed to be a luxurious experience aboard the Spaceship Neptune, a pressurized capsule. This capsule will be suspended beneath a massive hydrogen-filled balloon, comparable in length to a football stadium. The ascent to the desired altitude is expected to take approximately two hours, followed by two hours dedicated to sightseeing. The descent back to Earth, involving the gradual release of gas from the balloon, will also span two hours.
The Neptune capsule is equipped with amenities befitting its hefty ticket price of US$125,000. Prospective travelers can expect plush seating, a refreshments bar, a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi communications system capable of live-streaming, expansive 360-degree panoramic windows for unobstructed views, and even a below-deck toilet. Such luxurious accommodations underscore the company’s commitment to a premium space travel experience.
The recently completed test model of the Neptune capsule, while lacking the intended plush interior, is a highly instrumented prototype. This model is critical for multiple test flights, including initial uncrewed flights, followed by crewed flights planned for later in the year. Space Perspective founder and co-CEO Taber MacCallum expressed immense motivation and excitement at witnessing Spaceship Neptune come to life.
Additionally, Space Perspective is reportedly nearing the completion of the Marine Spaceport Voyager. This ship is not just a launch platform for the flights but also serves as a retrieval vessel for the capsule and balloon after splashdown in the ocean upon return.
Source: Space Perspective