Space Perspective, a space travel company, has unveiled the first images of its completed test capsule structure. The first to be designed for tourism flights under a SpaceBalloon, the spherical capsule, the reserve descent system, and SpaceBalloon make up the company’s innovative spacecraft called Spaceship Neptune.
The company is planning to conduct uncrewed test flights with the completed capsule to pave the way for crewed test flights next year.
The Florida-based company plans to offer commercial flights that will take passengers up to 100,000 feet (30,480 meters) to the edge of space via a pressurized capsule suspended from a high-tech balloon. Spaceship Neptune’s capsule remains secured to the hydrogen-filled football stadium-length SpaceBalloon during the entire flight from liftoff to splashdown, creating a seamless and safe flight.
Featuring the largest windows ever flown to space, the spacecraft, which accommodates eight Explorers and a Captain, will offer Explorers the quintessential astronaut experience of seeing Earth from the blackness of space.
The capsule would have comfortable seats, a refreshments bar, a Wi-Fi system, 360-degree panoramic windows, and a below-deck toilet. The company hopes to start transporting groups of up to eight passengers on flights by the end of 2024, and its $125,000 tickets are already being snapped up.
In 2021, Space Perspective successfully flew a capsule simulator to space under a SpaceBalloon. Now, the company is focused on further testing and refining its design to evaluate all corner cases and off-nominal scenarios to pass numerous safety gates.
The test capsule is highly instrumented and represents what the company will be flying once commercially operational – minus the luxurious interior called the Space Lounge. Data gathered during the upcoming uncrewed test flights will inform the development of a commercial-grade capsule.
Designing and manufacturing a spherical capsule structure to provide panoramic views and operate in so many different environments is a monumental achievement and a reflection of the integrated work happening between three of the company’s engineering teams.
“The entire company is hugely motivated by reaching this milestone together and seeing Spaceship Neptune come to life before our eyes so spectacularly,” said Taber MacCallum, human spaceflight veteran and Space Perspective Founder.