Passengers will have to pay a loaded sum of USD 125,000 for each seat of the eight-seater balloon. Passengers do not need any prescient training to avail this bewildering experience.
Space Perspective, a US-based firm, aims to fly customers in a luxury spaceflight balloon to experience above the stratospheric realm of the atmosphere, curating luxury space travel. The visionary Florida firm has developed a balloon-shaped vehicle, branding it as ‘Spaceship Neptune’, which would facilitate space travel by 2024. This space capsule by Space Perspective is reportedly as large as the size of a football stadium. Space Neptune is estimated to take passengers on a six-hour voyage to the edge of the atmosphere, an altitude of 100,000 feet, and shall return to earth, landing over water with assigned ships to pick up the travelers and the capsule.
Last week, Space Perspective announced they had acquired a marine spaceport vessel, ‘MS Voyager’. The inspiration was drawn from ‘Voyager’, the NASA spacecraft that ventured into interstellar space back in 2012, capturing the revolutionary ‘pale blue dot’ image of earth from the orbit of Neptune. The vessel was purchased from Edison Chouest Offshore, a Louisiana-based marine transportation solutions company. The finances behind this purchase are undisclosed. However, it measures 292 feet and is equipped with two bow thrusters and two 360-degree rotating stern thrusters for precise manoeuvrability and dynamic positioning for better launch and recovery operations.
Passengers will have to pay a loaded sum of USD 125,000 for each seat of the eight-seater balloon, which shall ascend from Space Coast Air and Spaceport located across the Kennedy Space Center of NASA in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Passengers do not need any prescient training to avail this bewildering experience. The travelers can also record their entire journey in real-time by connecting to available Wi-Fi services onboard. They will be able to have a 360-degree view of the earth while voyaging on their lounges. Food and beverage services are also available, including a bar top.
Space Perspective’s founder Jane Poynter has mentioned that the aim of this mission is to inspire explorers venturing into space to have a close connection with the earth and each other, with the travelling environment conditioning around this. This curated space lounge is antithetical to the white, utilitarian environment revolving in spacecraft of other budding space travel companies, a bold claim made by Jane. Space Perspective also aims to personalise journeys based on preferences. They aim to customise trips based on requirements- birthdays, corporate getaways, and more.
Space Perspective initiated space flight bookings in 2021. The company website states that so far, 1000 tickets have been sold. Having a houseful for the first year of travel, Space Perspective is taking reservations for 2025 and beyond. Passengers of the first 25 voyages will be the ‘Legacy Explorers.’ Deposits begin at $1000 and are fully refundable. Tickets can be purchased from Space Perspective’s official website.
Is Space Tourism about to Take Off?
A fledgling industry, space tourism has a lot of innovation to offer. The first providers of this state-of-the-art tourism, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, have faced some obstacles in their quest to perfect the service. The two firms transport travelers to an altitude of over 50 miles, a distance classified as outer space in the books of NASA, the US Military and the US Federal Aviation Administration.
The rocket flights of Blue Origin have exceeded the Karman Line, which lies at 62 miles and is the threshold between Earth and Space, as the International Astronautical Federation mentioned. The firm has so far executed six voyages on foot of suborbital tourism. The firm is owned and led by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. They have a spacecraft (New Shepherd) on hold following a technical problem in an uncrewed flight.
Virgin Galactic, owned by Richard Branson, uses a carrier aircraft to drop a spaceplane maker (SpaceShip Two) in mid-air. It has been subjected to a regulatory violation when it crosses the assigned airspace. The firm is aiming to make a comeback in 2023 and is reportedly upgrading the fleet.
While Elon Musk’s SpaceX is revolutionising space technology, these budding firms aim to derive commercial revenue from customers seeking adventure. The industry is making extravagant advancements every day, and in no time shall the international markets obtain access to this escapade.