Large windows 1.5 meters high, comfortable padded seats, violet tones and dim lighting… The environment represented in the illustrations presented by the company contrasts with that of other space capsules, often white and aseptic.
Other characteristics of this new ship, named Neptune: a bar, wifi to broadcast live video and a spectacular view even from the bathrooms.
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The trip, at a price of $125,000 per personit is designed to carry eight passengers (in addition to the pilot) up to 30 km of altitude.
Although at this distance from Earth there is still no weightlessness, and it is much less than where other space companies go (80 km Virgin Galactic, 100 km Blue Origin), it is much higher than commercial aircraft (about 10 km) and “for above 99% of the atmosphere,” says Jane Poynter, the firm’s co-founder.
But above all – and this is a big difference with the competitors – this experience does not require prior training or being prepared to withstand a significant acceleration G-force, because the vehicle will travel at 20 km/h.
“We wanted to find a way to really change people’s view of space travel,” Poynter told AFP. “What balloons allow us to do is to carry people into space in a smooth and comfortable way.“.
Seat belts should only be fastened during the first and last 15 minutes.
The balloon, filled with hydrogen and the size of a football stadium, will take off from Florida. It will rise for two hours, stay the same time at its peak, and then begin a two-hour descent to the sea as well. Upon landing, the capsule will be picked up by a ship.
The company claims that the trip does not generate greenhouse gas emissionsone of the main criticisms of the space tourism sector.
Space Perspective plans 25 flights in the first year, all already fully booked. They will then seek to increase the frequency and expand their operations to other parts of the world.
“There is so much demand that the market will only be limited by the industry’s ability to meet that demand for years to come,” says Poynter.
The company has more than 50 employees and expects to exceed 100 by the end of the year.