A company named Space Perspective is looking to give potential space tourists a new way of viewing our big blue planet through the use of a spaceship shaped air balloon.
The spaceship, called ‘Spaceship Neptune’ is inspired by a ‘balloon-borne pressurized capsule’ according to Livescience. Spaceship Neptune is scheduled to make its first test flight early in 2021.
Those lucky enough to grab a seat aboard Spaceship Neptune won’t be crammed into a makeshift basket, or gondola like on a regular hot air balloon. Instead, passengers will be treated to a full bar, bathroom, comfortable seating, and a huge observation window that allows you to marvel at our beautiful planet from a vantage point very few have seen before.
Spaceship Neptune will be gently pulled upwards by a 200m capsule which has been filled with buoyant hydrogen. This process will take about two hours in total to reach its maximum altitude of 30,000 meters (100,000 feet).
The capsule will spend about two hours in the stratosphere, above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere. Its descent will then take another two hours, meaning passengers will have a total flight time of six hours. In terms of the Space Neptune’s arrival back on the ground or water, in this case, the capsule will be fished out of the sea and recovered by boat, similar to how SpaceX retrieves the Crew Dragon capsules.
Space Perspective has yet to a name a price for this unique once-in-a-lifetime experience, but Space Perspective co-founder and CEO Taber MacCallum has been quoted as saying a ticket would likely sell for around R2.1 million ($125,000), according to LiveScience.
“We’re committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space — both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet,” said Space Perspective other founder and CEO Jane Poynter.