The ultimate balloon ride… to space! Florida-based Spaceship Neptune unveils luxury pod – complete with bar – that travels 20 miles above Earth for $125,000 per person (but at least drinks are included!)
- Space Perspective has unveiled a final design for its Spaceship Neptune capsule
- The spherical pod will be propelled 20 miles into space by a huge balloon, which the company says makes for a much smoother ride
- Up to eight passengers at a time can enjoy panoramic views of Earth while reclining in oversized seats and sipping cocktails – at a cost of $125,000 per person
- There will also be satellite imagery and 360-degree cameras on the capsule to allow passengers to zoom in and out on our home planet
Space Perspective has finalized its design for Spaceship Neptune, a sleek-looking capsule that will offer epic views 20 miles above Earth and luxury amenities – for a hefty price tag of $125,000 per ticket.
Unlike Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which utilize a rocket and large plane and therefore have the all the flight turbulence one would expect, Space Perspective promises a smooth and calm experience since its spherical pod is being propelled by a balloon.
The Florida-based company, which is constructing Spaceship Neptune near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, is planning to offer up to eight passengers at a time the chance to soak up panoramic views of Earth during the six-hour round trip.
Another key difference is that Space Perspective’s capsule will go 20 miles above Earth, as opposed to Blue Origin’s 65 miles and Virgin Galactic’s 50 miles.
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‘Our proprietary flight system means that the capsule and SpaceBalloon always remain connected, and take-off and landing conditions are always within our control,’ Taber MacCallum, co-founder of Space Perspective, said. Pictured above is the new design
The ultimate balloon ride: Space Perspective will take space tourists on a $125,000 per person, six-hour journey 20 miles above Earth
‘Centuries of balloon and parachute operation and development demonstrate that always flying with the balloon from launch through landing, with traditional parachutes as a reserve backup system, is by far the simplest, safest and most robust solution,’ said Taber MacCallum, founder, co-CEO and CTO of Space Perspective, in a statement.
‘Our proprietary flight system means that the capsule and SpaceBalloon always remain connected, and take-off and landing conditions are always within our control. The team has come together to create an amazingly robust, safe, and incredibly elegant and luxurious system for Spaceship Neptune.’
The larger capsule allowed for a roomier interior that can hold two more passengers than the design shown in October of last year. The interior has deep seats that recline, what the firm calls ‘mood lighting,’ a restroom and a bar.
‘We now also have an exterior aesthetic that is every bit as powerful as the interior … the engineering team have delivered an unsurpassable outcome in relation to performance and safety,’ the company’s lead designers said. Pictured is a conceptual view of the interior, showing panoramic windows and a bar area
The larger capsule allowed for a roomier interior that can hold two more passengers that previous design shown in October of last year, the Florida-based firm announced. Pictured above is a conceptual view of the interior, showing large reclining seats
Space Perspective has already sold 900 tickets, has targeted commercial flights to being in late 2024 and is taking reservations for 2025 as well. Pictured above is a conceptual view of the interior, showing ample space for passengers and their belongings
There will be satellite imagery and 360-degree cameras on the capsule to allow passengers to zoom in and out on our home planet.
Space Perspective has already sold 900 tickets, has targeted commercial flights to being in late 2024 and is taking reservations for 2025 as well.
MacCallum also announced the two team members leading the design team for Spaceship Neptune – Dan Window and Isabella Trani, who have worked on design for the New Tube for London as well as Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train.
‘As design specialists we have integrated the travel experience and aesthetic – from head room and groups of Explorers being able to move around comfortably within Spaceship Neptune from chair to restroom to bar – to, of course, maximizing the once-in-a-lifetime views,’ Window and Train explained.
‘We now also have an exterior aesthetic that is every bit as powerful as the interior … the engineering team have delivered an unsurpassable outcome in relation to performance and safety.’
Manufacturing of Spaceship Neptune has already begun with 100,000 square feet of facilities, 300,000 square feet of dedicated testing apron area, and operations center at the NASA KSC Shuttle Landing Facility.
The experience of seeing Earth from 20 miles up costs $125,000 per person, and bookings are made with a fully refundable deposit beginning at $1,000.
‘The Apollo era inspired two generations of scientists and engineers, not just to pursue careers in space but reminded us that we could do anything we set our minds to,’ Jane Poynter, a co-founder of Space Perspective, previously told DailyMail.com.
‘That was the saying – ‘if we can go to the moon, then surely we can do x.’ Spaceflight has an extraordinary power to inspire people of all ages.’
THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE: HOW BRANSON, MUSK AND BEZOS ARE VYING FOR GALACTIC SUPREMACY
Jeff Bezos in front of Blue Origin’s space capsule
Dubbed the ‘NewSpace’ set, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk all say they were inspired by the first moon landing in 1969, when the US beat the Soviet Union in the space race, and there is no doubt how much it would mean to each of them to win the ‘new space race’.
Amazon founder Bezos had looked set to be the first of the three to fly to space, having announced plans to launch aboard his space company Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on July 20, but Branson beat him to the punch.
The British billionaire became Virgin Galactic Astronaut 001 when he made it to space on a suborbital flight nine days before Bezos – on July 11 in a test flight.
Bezos travelled to space on July 20 with his younger brother Mark, Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old physics student whose dad purchased his ticket, and pioneering female astronaut Wally Funk, 82.
Although SpaceX and Tesla founder Musk has said he wants to go into space, and even ‘die on Mars’, he has not said when he might blast into orbit – but has purchased a ticket with Virgin Galactic for a suborbital flight.
SpaceX became the first of the ‘space tourism’ operators to send a fully civilian crew into orbit, with the Inspiration4 mission funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman.
His flight was on a Dragon capsule and SpaceX rocket built by space-obsessed billionaire, Elon Musk and took off for the three day orbital trip on September 16 – going higher than the International Space Station.
SpaceX appears to be leading the way in the broader billionaire space race with numerous launches carrying NASA equipment to the ISS and partnerships to send tourists to space by 2021.
On February 6 2018, SpaceX sent rocket towards the orbit of Mars, 140 million miles away, with Musk’s own red Tesla roadster attached.
Elon Musk with his Dragon Crew capsule
SpaceX has also taken two groups of astronauts to the |International Space Station, with crew from NASA, ESA and JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
SpaceX has been sending batches of 60 satellites into space to help form its Starlink network, which is already in beta and providing fast internet to rural areas.
Branson and Virgin Galactic are taking a different approach to conquering space. It has repeatedly, and successfully, conducted test flights of the Virgin Galactic’s Unity space plane.
The first took place in December 2018 and the latest on May 22, with the flight accelerating to more than 2,000 miles per hour (Mach 2.7).
More than 600 affluent customers to date, including celebrities Brad Pitt and Katy Perry, have reserved a $250,000 (£200,000) seat on one of Virgin’s space trips. The final tickets are expected to cost $350,000.
Branson has previously said he expects Elon Musk to win the race to Mars with his private rocket firm SpaceX.
Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic craft
SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.
The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.
It climbs to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier craft, White Knight II, once it has passed the 50-mile mark.
Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere.
The spaceship will then make a suborbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 1.5 hours.
Bezos revealed in April 2017 that he finances Blue Origin with around $1 billion (£720 million) of Amazon stock each year.
The system consists of a pressurised crew capsule atop a reusable ‘New Shepard’ booster rocket.
At its peak, the capsule reached 65 miles (104 kilometres), just above the official threshold for space and landed vertically seven minutes after liftoff.
Blue Origin are working on New Glenn, the next generation heavy lift rocket, that will compete with the SpaceX Falcon 9.
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