Space Perspective to Carry Passengers to “Edge of Space” Using Balloon

Space Perspective to carry passengers to the “edge of space” using a giant balloon.
Image credit: Space Perspective

A new startup has announced plans to carry passengers to the “edge of space” using a giant balloon.

In a June 18 press release, Space Perspective announced plans to fly passengers and research payloads to the “edge of space” in its Spaceship Neptune vehicle. The vehicle consists of a pressurized capsule carried to space on the end of a giant balloon measuring the length of a football field.

“We’re committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space – both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet,” said founder and Co-CEO Jane Poynter.

The Spaceship Neptune vehicle will be capable of carrying a pilot and eight passengers, which the company refers to as “Explorers”, to an altitude of 100,000 feet. This is well above the 35,000-foot cruising altitude of a Boeing 747 but also well short of the Karem line, the generally agreed-upon boundary between Earth and space which is at an altitude of 62 miles (327,000 feet).

The six-hour flight includes a two-hour “gentle ascent”, two-hour cruise at 100,000 feet, and a two-hour decent under the balloon concluding with a splashdown. Passengers are then retrieved by a recovery ship and returned to the company’s “homebase” at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Space Perspective has targeted early 2021 for a maiden uncrewed flight of the Spaceship Neptune vehicle. According to the company, the flight will carry a “suite of research payloads” both to monitor the vehicle’s performance and for commercial customers. It is currently unclear when the company plans to begin selling tickets following its maiden flight.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.