Space Tourism startup, so-called “Space Perspective” was launched in 2013, by a couple — Taber McCallum and Jane Poynter. The idea was to transfer tourists as high as possible by using a balloon with passenger capsule. The very first experiment showed that they were far from building a large balloon, so in the following years the company launched small balloons with various souvenirs being sent to space, as part of the popularization of the idea. The most significant one was the advertising contract with KFC for launching a chicken sandwich into the stratosphere. However, right now the Space Perspective declares that they are ready to launch passenger flights.
The announcement uses the term «flight to the border of space» since the cursing height will be around 100,000 feet (about 30 km). Technically it’s not space, according to the generally accepted interpretation, space is three times farther. So it will be a flight in the stratosphere and not very high. (The famous Felix Baumgartner parachuted from 39 km) However, it is three-time higher than the air flight height, so ordinary tourists had no chance to go so far from Earth before.
The Spaceship Neptune capsule is expected to fit eight passengers and a pilot. The production processes, weight, and other details have not yet been disclosed. The flights will be held early in the morning, each flight will take almost the whole daylight hours. According to New Atlas, the first launch is planned by NASA space center on Merritt Island in the state of Florida. The other sites will subsequently be added — in Hawaii or Alaska.
The capsule of a football field size will lift tourists to a height of 30,480 meters, in two hours. The flight will take place over the troposphere in exotic conditions, with an outstanding view from the capsule, where the curvature of the planet and the blackness of space will become clearly visible. At this height, the capsule will stay for another two hours in “Space”. The endpoint is a splashdown in the ocean, where the service team will transfer passengers to a transport ship and send it to the shore.
Poynter and McCallum say their capsule can be reused, they hope to get 1,000 flights from each vehicle and they plan to operate up to 100 flights a year. The places in the balloon are already open for the reservation. The price will be announced within a year and as promised, it will be at least half lower than the current price of the suborbital flights.
$ 125,000 Per person
The expected price for one flight.
The uniqueness of this experience and the relatively affordable price will create a new trend in the luxury tourism industry. People will choose to celebrate their special moments on the “edge of the space”. We can also imagine Space Perspective launching new types of services, like private flights with dinner, spending a night in a specifically designed capsule with beds, and open space to watch down on earth and exclusive shows with live streaming.
The success of Space Perspective will probably boost all space tourism startups in many countries that are already highly involved with technologies. New startups will enhance the concept by making it more accessible in terms of price and service.
Despite the Space Perspective is not going to reach space it is a huge step to massive space tourism. Although it won’t be affordable for the majority of tourists but with the development of technologies, we can expect the reduction of the prices in the future.
Authors: Alexey Petrash, Aznive Boghossian, Ikram Ouazzani Touhami