The aerospace industry is about to see a new era of commercial space travel with Stratospheric Ballooning, and this time around, the company is planning for everyone. Instead of going up in expensive rockets like Blue Origin or SpaceX, startups such as Space Perspective plan on taking capsules attached by large balloons into the stratosphere, where they can provide inexpensive transportation that might be more appealing than other options available currently.
Space Tourism Without The Hefty Price Tag
Space Perspective offers the first space tourism experience that anyone can afford, and they’re doing it with a company name straight out of science fiction. “We firmly believe that Space Perspective is going to become the most accessible way for travelers around this planet,” says board member Anton Brevde from Prime Movers Lab (PML).
“We are confident that space tourism will soon become more accessible than ever with the introduction of Space Perspective,” said Brevde. “The company has already secured millions in funding and is working hard towards their goal: to make it possible for everyone who wants adventure outside this world’s atmosphere.”
Innovation: The Key To Accessibility
Space Perspective has always been an innovator. They’re the first company to design and build a stratospheric balloon system that features capsules for eight passengers, with pilots. With this funding, they will be able to complete the development of their new spaceship Neptune, which is sure to make history in its own right. But there’s even more happening here… Space Perspective doesn’t expect to need any additional capital injection before commercial flights are expected.
Taver MacCallum, co-chief executive of Space Perspective, said: “It really shows the level of investor confidence that we have. Being fully funded by essentially your original investor base is a huge vote of confidence.”
Neptune One in the Space
Starting in 2024, the private company’s Neptune One will be the first space launch operator to launch from Space Coast Spaceport (next to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida). On June 18, the business completed a successful test flight.
According to Jane Poynter, CEO of Space Perspective, in an interview with VentureBeat, “space explorers and travel adventurers eager to update their bucket lists can relish 360-degree vistas of planet Earth from 20 miles above in a sumptuous six-hour ride aboard Spaceship Neptune, pushed by a state-of-the-art space balloon the size of a football stadium.”
The thrill of space travel with a safe and gradual ascension is now available to the “space curious” who would find rocket-fueled space pursuits too hazardous or expensive. A rocket journey, such as the one taken by William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, into orbit on the Jeff Bezos-funded Blue Origins rocket, may very well be physically demanding and expensive per visitor.
Passengers will lift to 100,000 feet into space on the pressurised Spaceship Neptune, where they will experience two hours of spectacular views of the Earth’s curvature. The ship does not travel into space, but it does clear 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. The air inside the balloon swells 100-fold as it floats in the remaining 1% of the atmosphere.
In a statement, Poynter stated, “We are thrilled by this major investment from Prime Movers Lab and also very thankful of additional assistance from LightShed Ventures, the Explorer 1 Fund, and others.” “It’s a new day in space travel, and our investors are responding to a loud and rising market of passengers looking for a secure portal for this final voyage.”
Stratospheric Balloon Testing
Space Perspective has already performed its first uncrewed high-altitude balloon flight, taking a full-size, but not full-weight mockup to an altitude of 33 kilometers. The company plans on spending the next year working on developing both system components and procedures for launching their project which MacCallum says will take advantage “of this new hybrid approach in aerospace engineering that allows us to not only test hardware, but also software.”
In late 2023, SpaceX will begin testing their new crewed vehicle with open-ended plans for test flights. In 2024 the first astronauts will board one of these vehicles and fly them into orbit.
Adventure Without The Price Tag With Stratospheric Balloon
It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to fly over 50 miles up in space. That is why Space Perspective has already collected 475 bookings, each secured with a deposit of $ 10-25K depending on how fast passengers board their plane. The total cost for seats ranges from 125k all the way down to just one dollar. For people who prefer more insurance, but still want some adventure – ballooning could be an appropriate choice; however, they won’t experience anything like weightlessness or any high altitude opportunities whatsoever because these trips only go so far above ground level before coming back towards earth again.
But Space Perspective promises to offer a spectacular view of the curvature of Earth and darkness in space with its 6-hour ride. According to their plan, at 12 mph for 2 hours it will gradually rise before gliding to apogee where you can enjoy your time up there as well as descending slowly before splashdown. You’ll be one lucky person who gets scooped up by the ship’s crew like NASA does when they retrieve capsules from other space launches.
A Similar Experience To Commercial Flight?
A first-class commercial flight of today’s major airlines is more like a Space Perspective ballooning experience. Customers will have access to WiFi and bars and there is no special training required, according to a company spokesperson. In fact, preflight safety briefings would be similar to what you can experience on any current commercial airline.
The draw of more accessible space travel is big business. According to reports commissioned from leading international management consultancy firms, the total addressable market for this industry could be worth up $250 billion or even higher with potential growth rates at 10% annually over an initial period until 2028 when they estimate that number will reach about half a trillion dollars.
Keep following us here as we continue to cover the latest news and developments in the world of commercialized space tourism.