Since humans have been able to organize themselves in societies, they have also learned to travel from one point to another. Today, thanks to technological advances, our traveling is no longer limited to the country or continent we are born on; humans have been traveling to space. We have even developed companies to facilitate commercial travels between our planet and the neighboring ones. However, traveling to space has its constraints and side effects. For those who still want to have the experience of space travel without facing the effects of traveling in a rocket ship, there is “Space Perspective.”
The Neptune on a test flight. (Image credit: Space Perspectives)
The founders of “Space Perspective” (SP) are famous for their traveling by balloons concept. Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum (the cofounders of Space Perspective) already had a business of transporting payloads into the stratosphere with balloons before they created SP.
The goal of the cofounders is to give subscribers a view of the Earth that they would only otherwise admire on a postcard. Contrary to other companies like Blue Origin, SP will not be using a rocket-propelled vehicle, so that the trip is a lot gentler on the passengers. In fact, the founders explained that technically the passengers would not be really in space, but about 100,000 feet above the ground, which can be considered the edge of space. At that altitude, the closest thing to “being in space” passengers will experience feeling 3-pound lighter.
The flight projection. (Image credit: Space Perspectives)
The aircraft that will be used for the experience is a spherical white capsule named “Neptune,” with windows large enough to allow a clear view of the Earth from it. The structure will be carried by a transparent balloon filled with hydrogen and ascend at a speed of 12 miles per hour. The aircraft will sit up to 12 passengers in addition to the pilot. The trip to the edge of space and back is meant to last about 6 hours, even with the allocated 2-hour pause to hover above the Earth. The “Neptune will be equipped with WI-FI, a bar and a bathroom. The pilot will utilize a satellite connection to communicate with the surface. The creators of Neptune have also planned for a stronger line of communication for instances when broader bandwidth is required, such as live streaming. The ticket giving you a seat on Neptune will cost about $125,000, and while it is on the hefty side, it is still more affordable than Virgin Galactic prices.
If anyone is worried about the safety of flying commercially “into space,” the founders assure that the flight will be regulated by the FAA just like commercial plane flights are now.it is also important to mention that both cofounders have had experience with space-related travel and have worked on numerous projects including the very controversial Biosphere 2 experiment which simulated life on Mars; in addition to having experience in high-altitude balloon flights. Neptune will also be equipped with life support systems and pressure control and a reserve parachute in case the balloon suffers any damage. Part of the balloon will also be controlled by a team on the ground in addition to the pilot inside the aircraft.
But the real question about Neptune is: are people ready to push the boundaries of air flight and embrace space traveling? After all, there are still many people who don’t like to travel by plane.
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