spaceship neptune

Spaceship Neptune: The Space Balloon Will Soon Conduct Its First Test Flight

The future of space tourism may be closer than we think.

Spaceship Neptune is a pressurized vehicle suspended beneath a massive balloon that will take passengers to the brink of Earth’s atmosphere. Space Perspective, the Florida-based startup company building this curious craft, reached its $7 million funding goal on December 2nd.

Spaceship Neptune is now in development and is on track to fly a demonstration mission in 2021. With this endeavor, Space Perspective is on track to be one of the first companies to bring humans into the stratosphere.

BACKGROUND: What is Spaceship Neptune?

Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter co-founded Space Perspective in the early 1990’s. They had designed the air, food, and water systems for Biosphere 2, a prototype space base. They were also part of the original crew of eight people who lived for two years inside the planetary Biosphere 1. Experiencing what it was like for astronauts to live in such close and artificial conditions, the pair were inspired to develop Space Perspective.

spaceship neptune
(Credit: Space Perspective)

According to their website, concerning their experiences in Biosphere 1, “Even then we talked about our destiny as a multi-planetary species, a vision whereby humans explore space for the betterment of all. This is our quest.”

ANALYSIS: Spaceship Neptune is not a cheap ride

Spaceship Neptune will carry a pressurized cabin with passengers and crew to an altitude of approximately 19 miles (30 kilometers). Passengers will be treated to two hours of an unparalleled view of Earth from the edge of space. The balloon will then gradually descend, and the Spacehip Neptune cabin will land safely in the ocean, where it will then be retrieved by ship. Space Perspective stresses that “Space is for everyone… And we must see it to really believe it.” For those who want to be first in line, ticket prices are expected to cost anywhere from $125,000 to $150,000 each.

OUTLOOK: Weird, but Interesting

Though this project does sound a little out there, their team hosts a collection of respected engineers, an astronaut, and a handful of other scientists well versed in aerospace and spaceflight.

(Credit: Space Perspective.)

While $7 million seems like a substantial amount of funding for a project like this, it will require more funding to truly achieve commercial operations. Space Perspective expects to raise another round of funding by early 2022 and be in full operation by 2024. But with the 2021 test flight already in motion, everything is on track for this stratosphere touring company.

While 2024 does seem like a long shot to have full operations established, space tourism has the potential to become an extremely profitable future market.

Pre-sale tickets will be available in 2021, so for those who have ever wanted to travel high enough to see both Earth’s curvature, and the darkness beyond our atmosphere, start saving now – it’s going to be a tour of stratospheric proportions.