Space

Roll up, roll up! Get your tickets for the great space balloon ride

Roll up, roll up! Get your tic...
The Spaceship Neptune cabin will carry eight passengers and a pilot in luxury
The Spaceship Neptune cabin will carry eight passengers and a pilot in luxury
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The Spaceship Neptune cabin will carry eight passengers and a pilot in luxury
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The Spaceship Neptune cabin will carry eight passengers and a pilot in luxury
Space Perspective ticket holders will see 450 miles in all directions, and watch the sunrise over the curvature of the Earth
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Space Perspective ticket holders will see 450 miles in all directions, and watch the sunrise over the curvature of the Earth
At an altitude of 100,000 feet, you're paying US$1.25 a foot
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At an altitude of 100,000 feet, you're paying US$1.25 a foot
A monster space balloon, thinner than kitchen wrap and the size of a sports stadium, will lift nine people in the comparatively tiny cabin below
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A monster space balloon, thinner than kitchen wrap and the size of a sports stadium, will lift nine people in the comparatively tiny cabin below
A gentler option than the blast-off of a rocket to take passengers to the edge of space
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A gentler option than the blast-off of a rocket to take passengers to the edge of space
A luxury space travel experience, set to launch in late 2024
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A luxury space travel experience, set to launch in late 2024
An image taken at 100,000 feet by Space Perspective's Neptune One unmanned test aircraft
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An image taken at 100,000 feet by Space Perspective's Neptune One unmanned test aircraft
The Neptune One prototype has flown in the last week
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The Neptune One prototype has flown in the last week
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Cape Canaveral's Space Perspective has officially started selling tickets for the highest balloon ride of them all: a six-hour floating journey to the edge of space, where you can watch the sunrise. At US$125,000 a seat, flights start in 2024.

Your ride is the Spaceship Neptune, which we first heard about last year. It's a pressurized (and hopefully well heated) capsule hanging from an "advanced spaceballoon" the size of a football stadium – presumably something even larger than the Big 60 zero-pressure scientific balloon NASA launched in September 2018.

That 60-million-cubic-foot (1.7-million-cu-m) monster was made by South Dakota's Raven Aerostar, from a delicate polyethylene material just one hundredth of a millimeter thick. Its skin, laid flat like kitchen wrap, would cover about 20 acres of land. It set multiple world records, carrying a 1,650 lb (750 kg) payload to a sustainable altitude of 159,000 ft (48,463 m), and it was filled with enough helium to make anybody sound funny.

A monster space balloon, thinner than kitchen wrap and the size of a sports stadium, will lift nine people in the comparatively tiny cabin below
A monster space balloon, thinner than kitchen wrap and the size of a sports stadium, will lift nine people in the comparatively tiny cabin below

This one looks like it'll be lifting substantially more. Each Spaceship Neptune flight will lift one pilot, eight passengers, nine "reclining, plush seats," a refreshments bar, a Wi-Fi communications system capable of live-streaming, 360-degree panoramic windows and a below-deck toilet – as well as the weight of the capsule itself.

The six-hour journey will top out at around 100,000 ft (30,480 m), where guests will have two hours to have their gobs smacked by the sight of the sun rising over the clearly curving horizon of the Earth – if they believe in such a thing – and a nearly-unfiltered view of the stars beyond 99 percent of the wispy-thin layer of atmosphere that makes this planet home. You'll be able to see about 450 miles (724 km) in every direction.

"Don't forget your camera," says Hall of Fame Astronaut and Space Perspective's Senior Technical Advisor Jeff Hoffman. Um, nobody's forgetting their camera, Jeff. You'll have two hours up there to bang out some mad selfies or make sick TikToks pointing out how only space-station dwellers and Snoop Dogg are higher than you right now, before the balloon begins its decent.

An image taken at 100,000 feet by Space Perspective's Neptune One unmanned test aircraft
An image taken at 100,000 feet by Space Perspective's Neptune One unmanned test aircraft

All going according to plan, you'll splash down off the coast, where a ship will come to grab the capsule out of the water and you'll be able to disembark in comfort and style. If something goes very wrong, a backup parachute will bring you down in fairly similar fashion.

At 125 grand a pop, it's not going to be the cheapest six hours of your life. It'll be substantially cheaper than a ride on a Blue Origin or SpaceX rocket, though, and while those will be a lot more exciting at liftoff, and will take you about three times higher, they've got a much higher chance of exploding into a ball of flames than Spaceship Neptune's "radically gentle voyage."

Space Perspective has just completed the first test flight of its unmanned Neptune One test balloon, which flew on June 18, reaching heights over 100,000 ft and splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico as planned. The company says it's tracking to begin customer flights in late 2024, and is taking $1,000-a-seat reservation deposits now.

Check out a video below.

Space Perspective

Source: Space Perspective

View gallery - 8 images
6 comments
6 comments
David
Spectacular! And for the more adventurous the alternative will be for a similar ascent followed by space diving.
Brian M
Ok that seems a lot more fun than Blue Origin or SpaceX rocket rides, which literally have more bang for the buck, but not in a good way, and at a price that is within grasp of many (might have to downsize house!).
Ryanza
You can't go to space in a balloon because of real science.

100,000 ft isn't even a third of the way to space.
Nelson Hyde Chick
Just another waste of resources so rich people can get their rocks off. We are running-out of helium.
ZyxwvuTJ
I'd be looking to sign up today if this trip offered an orbit that caused weightlessness. Going to "space" and not experiencing weightlessness is a deal killer for me. Maybe if it included a space Dive as mentioned by @David.
Smokey_Bear
While no, it's not "space", it would still be awesome! I would love to do that, but I'll wait for the price to fall, I'll check back in 2030.