This takes sightseeing to a whole new level!
Space Perspective is a new start-up off-world travel company that wants to make commercial spaceflight a reality. The company plans to take people on a six-hour-long flight on a balloon craft, up to the very edge of space, or a float altitude above 100,000 feet.
The craft, which is called "Spaceship Neptune," is a space-balloon filled with hydrogen gas that's about the size of a football stadium and lifts a pressurized capsule that seats eight passengers and a pilot. Passengers will be able to experience the thrill of getting to space with no astronaut training or special licensing. All passengers will be equipped with a backup parachute, so that's ... comforting. But there is a refreshment bar!
Courtesy of Space Perspective
As the website says, they want to make the thrill of spaceflight accessible to customers.
"As Neptune glides along the edge of space, the sun slowly rises over the curved limb of Earth, scattering rainbow colors of light across the planet and illuminating the thin, bright blue line of our atmosphere. And the sky remains black, completely inky black. This view of Earth in the void of space has transfixed astronauts since the dawn of the space age.”
The site goes on to say that even the lavatory offers "the best view in the known universe."
About two hours to ascend, the balloon will reach altitude and stay afloat for two hours, then another two for the descent. The capsule will then splash down safely in the ocean and passengers will be retrieved by ship.
In total, it will cost guests $125,000 for the entire trip.
In addition, the folks behind Space Perspective hope to rent out the craft for special events, like weddings, which means getting married in space may be a reality for couples in the extremely near future if they're successful.
Driven by science and education, Space Perspective invites educators, students, and scientists to perform research while aboard the craft.
“Areas of particular interest to scientists include atmospheric science that could shed light on the greater workings of our planet’s climate and air systems; astro-and solar-physics that illuminate our understanding of our universe; and, astrobiology to explore the limits of life on our planet and beyond,” says the website.
Unmanned test flights are set to start in 2020, and the company hopes to test with human crews by 2023 and open for commercial flights in 2024. Currently, spots can be reserved on future flights and will be saved in the order received.
The team behind Space Perspective is made up of experts, scientists, retired NASA astronauts, pilots, and more, with many of them having worked together on research projects and prototypes since the 1990s.
Would you want to explore the edge of space? How comfortable would you feel flying in a space balloon? Let us know what you think in the comments.