Hot air balloon company offers cheaper flights to space

Space Perspective, the space tourism company planning to launch a space balloon from the Space Coast is ready to take your money.

After completing a successful test flight on June 18, the company has opened bookings for planned 2024 launches of what will be its first passenger-ready balloon, the Neptune One. According to the company, flights for 2024 are already full. Flights for 2025 are now on sale.

The price: US$125,000 (A$164,000) per person, but prospective passengers only need to deposit US$1,000 for now. The total price is half of what Virgin Galactic charged its first set of customers, who have yet to fly in its rocket-powered craft 80 kilometers into space for a short trip, and that price is likely to increase.

Blue Origin is about to make its maiden voyage on its New Shepard rocket, and that price hasn’t been set yet, but an anonymous (so far) bidder has paid $28 million to be its first passenger. with founder Jeff Bezos. 11 minute ride.

The space balloon is a different approach, offering a 6-hour flight, with a 2-hour ascent to 32 kilometers in altitude, followed by two hours of hovering above Earth before a two-hour descent.

“A flight on the Neptune spacecraft is supposed to be as easy as boarding a commercial aircraft,” said company co-founder Jane Poynter. “The experience is designed so that if a person is medically fit to board an aircraft, they are well suited for that trip.”

She and co-founder Taber MacCallum, known for living in isolation from the world for two years in the Biosphere 2 habitat in the 1990s, achieved their timeline goals after receiving millions from an investment group that includes motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

The June 18 test flight achieved its altitude goal of 32 kilometers reaching 33,043 meters while crossing the state from east to west and crashing into the Gulf of Mexico during a 6-hour flight and 39 minutes. The company plans a crewed test flight in 2023.

“We plan to fly 25 flights in the first year, all departing at different times throughout the year,” Poynter said. “We plan to fly from locations around the world to give our customers a diverse itinerary of experiences to choose from.”

Its first launch site, however, is at Space Coast Spaceport in Brevard County, where its center of operations is currently located in the former shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center.

The 198-meter-tall balloon can carry up to eight guests with the pilot in a capsule that includes a bar and a bathroom. It will offer 360 degree views and reclining seats.

“We are giving people unprecedented access to the wonders of space travel, making it luxurious, comfortable and accessible to anyone who has the means and the dreams,” Poynter said.

Reservations can be made at www.spaceperspective.com

TNS