Space Perspective, the world’s first carbon-neutral spaceflight experience company, has unveiled the first images of its new test capsule. Jenny Southan reports
Space Perspective’s Spaceship Neptune comprises a pressurised, spherical capsule propelled by a giant SpaceBalloon that floats up to the stratosphere, offering a “safe and transformative” six-hour journey to the edge of space – at a “fraction of the cost” of other space travel options.
With no rockets, weightlessness, heavy G-forces, or training required, the experience is designed to be gentle on passengers. Now, the construction of its passenger capsule has been completed.Those who fly with Space Perspective, which is being regulated by the FAA and follows guidelines established by NASA and the US Coast Guard, will apparently enjoy a “world-class meal and cocktail service”.
They will also have onboard wifi, a toilet (dubbed the Space Spa, pictured below), and “unprecedented views of our planet through the largest windows ever flown to space”.
Now complete, the capsule will be flown as part of the company’s upcoming uncrewed test flights, which pave the way for crewed test flights later in 2024.
Space Perspective’s test capsule represents what the company will be flying once commercially operational – minus the luxurious interior, which it calls the Space Lounge. Data gathered during the upcoming uncrewed test flights will inform the development of a commercial-grade capsule.
Spaceship Neptune has been developed to be the “most accessible, most sustainable, and safest spacecraft on or above our planet”.
Featuring the largest windows ever flown to space, the spacecraft, which accommodates eight passengers and a captain, will offer space tourists the “quintessential astronaut experience of seeing Earth from the blackness of space”, says Space Perspective.Space Perspective is also nearing completion of its launch vessel, Marine Spaceport Voyager, which will soon arrive at its home port on the Space Coast to support test flight operations.
In 2021, Space Perspective successfully flew a capsule simulator to space under a SpaceBalloon; since then, its teams have been working on the design and manufacturing of the capsule to resume testing, which will include evaluating all corner cases and off-nominal scenarios to pass numerous safety gates.
A seat on Spaceship Neptune costs US$125,000 with a waitlist deposit starting at US$1,000. Additional options for seat deposits and flights are contingent upon availability within the desired flight year. With more than 1,650 tickets sold and increasing demand, the company expects to raise prices in 2024 as operations get underway.
Based on Florida’s Space Coast, Space Perspective was founded by human spaceflight veterans Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum, who met as original crew members in Biosphere 2.
They went on to launch Paragon Space Development Corporation, which develops tech for environmental control systems that can be found on the International Space Station (ISS). Space Perspective’s team more broadly has been instrumental in the development of every US human spacecraft for the past 40 years.