The Future of Tourism in Space

Artist's illustration of Space Perspective's balloon-borne Spaceship Neptune high above Earth.
Artist’s illustration of Space Perspective’s balloon-borne Spaceship Neptune high above Earth.
(Image: © Space Perspective)

One of life’s greatest curiosities has always been that of space travel and all that exists in the depths the universe. From countless theories, movies, books, research, and beyond, humans for as long as time have sought to explore the great unknown. In fact, in recent years (while not fully developed) technology has seen great growth to the point where space tourism is gradually evolving in real time, waiting to reach its full potential. Luckily for aspiring space tourists, they should have a new option for travel in the not too distant future.

A new company by the name of Space Perspective is aiming to send paying consumers and research payloads into the stratosphere aboard what the company has dubbed Spaceship Neptune, a balloon-borne pressurized capsule that is set to embark on its first test flight run early next year. As explained back on June 18th, 2020 by the founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective Jane Poynter, “Today, it is more crucial than ever to see Earth as a planet, a spaceship for all humanity and our global biosphere.” Poynter went on to explain that “Today, it is more crucial than ever to see Earth as a planet, a spaceship for all humanity and our global biosphere,” where she also referenced the overview effect, a common championing point cited by astronauts who have experienced space travel, claiming it completely changes one’s perspective on how they field the world and day to day life.

As for Spaceship Neptune itself, its capsule will be able to accommodate a pilot as well as eight passengers who will travel into orbit luxuriously. Set to be onboard this craft includes feature seats, a bar, a bathroom, and large windows that will enable passengers to observe breathtaking views of Earth against the blackness of space as stated by company representatives.

Spaceship Neptune will launch from the old Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Florida’s Space Coast. From there, Spaceship Neptune is set to head east out across the Atlantic Ocean on winter flights and west across the Gulf of Mexico on summer flights as a result of a seasonal shift and the ensuing winds associated with the shift. Additionally, Spaceship Neptune will spend approximately two hours getting up to its maximum altitude of about 100,000 feet pulled upwards by a 650-foot-tall balloon filled with buoyant hydrogen. From there, the craft will spend two hours up in the stratosphere above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere, then proceed to take another two hours to go back down leading to a 6-hour journey when it’s all said and done.

Another illustration of Space Perspective’s passenger-carrying Spaceship Neptune and its 650-foot-tall (200 meters) balloon. (Image credit: Space Perspective)

While Space Perspective has yet to set a price for entrance, it is expected that a ticket will sell for around $125,000 at the onset. At first glace this figure may seem incredibly steep, but it is with this said that the nonprofit Space for Humanity has selected Space Perspective as their “preferred partner” for their Citizen Astronaut Program, which will fund the flights of a selected group of people who will then become space ambassadors upon their return to Earth. In doing so, founder of Space for Humanity and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings Dylan Taylor said in a statement “Space for Humanity is cultivating a movement to expand access to space for all of humanity, and this partnership represents a big leap in making that happen.” With Spaceship Neptune set for its flight tests in the first quarter of 2021, Space Perspective is already pushing for people to sign up to fly despite no set ticket prices, allowing for early birds to get to the front of the line and accommodate seat allocations accordingly.

This new development is surely one to take humanity to heights never seen before, both literally and figuratively, with its hopes of making space travel accessible for all people across the globe and not just a select few. With Spaceship Neptune set to launch, the sky is truly the limit, as space travel is a piece of technology worth looking out for far into the future.

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